Baltimore Orioles v Texas Rangers
The Texas Rangers have been generally dominant in 2012, but even they have tough contests – and their game at Baltimore Thursday will be one such game. The reason: Jason Hammel. The Orioles’ pitcher has been fabulous this year, allowing two runs or fewer in each of his six starts and posting a healthy 8.85 strikeouts per game. Baltimore has really been the surprise package so far this year, outclassing usual American League East stars like the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees. They will be motivated in this matchup to prove they can beat the current best in the West (and reigning AL champions). They should be aided by the Rangers’ pitcher Derek Holland, who has been wildly inconsistent this season. He threw well in his last outing, but in his previous two he gave up 12 runs in 13 innings. Opt for the Orioles, who can be had at 2.08, to steal this home game from the Rangers at 1.75.
Minnesota Twins v Toronto Blue Jays
In Minnesota, the Twins woes should continue against the Toronto Blue Jays. With the second-worst offence in the American League, the Twins face a pitcher, Henderson Alvarez, who is on a roll. In his last outing, he threw his first career shutout. Overall, he’s been a very sturdy option in the Toronto rotation, having thrown five quality starts (that’s six-plus innings and three or fewer runs per game) in six tries. The Twins roll out Jason Marquis who struggled with command in his last appearance against the Seattle Mariners, walking six in six innings. Marquis has a 5.40 ERA in 2011. Capitalise on Minnesota’s ongoing struggles and snap up the Blue Jays at 1.62 rather than the Twins at 2.30.