New York Yankees at Tampa Bay Rays (+115, 7)
Two of the AL East’s best open the season in fine style when the Yankees send CC Sabathia to the hill against Tampa’s James Shields.
The big question in this one is whether Sabathia is ready for real ball after a tough spring. He was 0-1 with a 5.00 ERA, giving up 21 hits in 18 innings during exhibition play.
"I’ll be ready on Friday,'' Sabathia told reporters. "Would I like to have had more success (this spring)? Sure. But my pitches are doing what they’re supposed to. I’m ready.”
This will be his ninth career Opening Day start, so you have to think he knows what he’s talking about, especially when you consider his career ERA in spring training is 5.27.
Shields, on the other hand, is coming off a great spring (3-0, 2.08 ERA) but is only 5-11 with a 4.14 lifetime ERA against the Yanks.
Minnesota Twins at Baltimore Orioles (-135, 9.5)
After a season in which the Twins lost 99 games, they’re trying to accentuate the positive. For the time being, the main thing is they head into the season opener healthy.
Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau and Denard Span all made it through Spring Training in one piece. If that trio can stay off the DL, Minnesota could bounce back in a big way after the club used the DL a major-league high 27 times last year.
"You're only as good as your last game and last year we were terrible, so I think all the sportswriters and critics are judging us on our injured lineup last year," Span told reporters. "I feel like if we can be healthy, we've already won, because we all need to be on the field -- that gives us the best chance to win."
Meanwhile, the young Orioles have more questions than answers throughout the lineup and it’s going to take a while to see what this club is all about.
Early forecasts expect strong winds blowing in from center, so the under looks like the play here.