Al Dannity says you should trust the new-field advantage Minnesota holds in the AL Central this season.
One edge goes another arrives Visiting teams to Minnesota (+125) will be glad to see the back of the Metrodome, at least initially. There isn’t a team in the American League that hasn’t got some bad memory of a trip to one of the toughest home venues in the Major Leagues. On the face of it Minnesota is giving up a huge advantage but the Twins shouldn’t be too worried, their new field should work nicely. Over the past two decades any team that moved stadium has enjoyed an initial surge in fan attendance and performances from their players.
Don’t underestimate the psychological impact a new park can have on players, Cleveland, Baltimore and Seattle can all vouch for that over the past two decades. For the Twins they move into Target Field with a line-up already capable of making a return to the playoffs. Even with closer Joe Nathan done for the season, the Twins have enough offensive firepower to get the job done and take the division.
Pitching power will see Sox challenge While I fancy the Twins there’s no doubting that the Chicago White Sox (+160) possess the line-up most capable of challenging Minnesota in the Central. No team in the division enjoys the kinds of riches at pitching found in Chicago, especially at the top of the order. In Jake Peavy and Mark Buerhle the White Sox have a 1-2 punch that can match up with anyone in the Majors and it’s a near certainty they will improve on their 2009 showing. Yet I still can’t back Ozzie Guillen’s guys to make the post-season this year. They simply don’t match up well with the Twins in terms of offensive production and while they will win plenty of low-scoring games, they won’t win enough to still be playing in October.
Tigers to whimper back down the order After losing a one-off playoff game for the AL Central crown to Minnesota, the Tigers are set to take a step back in 2010. They won’t drop down too far despite losing plenty of talent, not least Curtis Granderson. Johnny Damon is a decent acquisition and he is part of a still reasonably talented core of players that should stay well clear of the hapless Indians and Royals. You can toss a coin over who will take fourth between Cleveland and Kansas City. Both could come close to racking up 100 losses but I fancy Cleveland’s offense to give them the edge over the course of the season. As rebuilding line-ups go, the Indians could do a lot worse.
For the best MLB odds as opening day nears check out Sport’s Interaction’s online sports book.