We picked up a nice win yesterday when we backed the Minnesota Twins, in Cleveland, against the Indians, at basically even money. While these two teams came into the game separated by just a game and a half in the American League Central, I felt that the Twins were the clear side to be on. I expected a competitive game, but at a coin flip price, I saw backing the Twins as high value.
Kenta Maeda and Aaron Civale had both been pitching well this year, and both guys were coming off of their best outings of the season, and while I leaned towards Maeda being just slightly better, I called the starting pitching matchup a wash. But where I did draw a line in this one, was at the plate, as the Twins are one of the hardest hitting teams in the game, and the Indians are dead last in slugging and despite looking better recently, are one of the weakest hitting teams in the American League.
— Minnesota Twins (@Twins) August 25, 2020
The game turned out to be just as competitive as I had envisioned, and both Maeda and Civale pitched well. But at the end of the day, the Twins power was the deciding factor, as they managed to hit two homers off of Civale, a solo shot from Nelson Cruz, and a two-run bomb from Miguel Sano, and that was the difference in the game. The Indians racked up twelve hits on the night, but couldn’t drive the runs across the plate, and lost.
With the win and the Athletics loss to the Rangers, the Twins are now tied with Oakland for the best record in the American League. For Cleveland, the loss drops them back into a tie for second place in the AL Central with the Chicago White Sox, two and a half games back of Minnesota. For today’s free daily betting pick, we will look to keep our hot streak alive when we head to Detroit, where the Tigers host the Chicago Cubs.
Chicago Cubs (18-10) at Detroit Tigers (11-16)
The Chicago Cubs are in Detroit Tuesday, looking for the series win in game two of a three-game set with the Tigers. The Cubs took game one yesterday 9-3, powered by Javy Baez, who had two homers and three RBI, and David Bote, who homered and drove in four. The win was the 13th of the month for Chicago, and their 18-10 record is second-best in the National League, trailing only the Los Angeles Dodgers.
For Detroit, the Tigers had a hot start to the season, but those days are long gone as they have been in freefall recently, as they have lost eleven out of their last thirteen games. But despite the recent struggles, the Tigers are still in the playoff conversation in the American League, as they are just three games back of the Toronto Blue Jays for the final playoff spot in the league.
Starting tonight for the Cubs is Tyler Chatwood (2-1 5.40 ERA), and for the Tigers, it is Spencer Turnbull (2-2 3.65 ERA). The game total over/under is set at nine and a half runs. The Cubs are -125 road favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 4:10 PM PST from Comerica Park in Detroit.
Somehow, the Chicago Cubs have managed to jump out to one of the best records in the National League this season, despite most of their best hitters struggling at the plate. Kris Bryant is hitting .177 with only two home runs. Anthony Rizzo is hitting .213, Kyle Shwarber is at just .228, and while Javy Baez had himself a night last night, he is still slashing only .219 on the season.
How have the Cubs managed to win games despite the lack of contributions from their best hitters? Surprisingly enough, it has been the Cub’s ability to get on base with walks that has driven much of their success this season. The Cubs lead the National League in walks this year, and they are manufacturing runs the old-fashioned way.
Get ’em on, get ’em over, and drive ’em in. The Cubs don’t have a single player ranked amongst the leaders in the NL in RBI, as they have managed to drive in runs as a team, with nine different players having at least nine RBI on the year. If these bats start to wake up, this team could score a lot of runs with their patient approach at the plate.
Tyler Chatwood (2-1 5.40 ERA)
Tyler Chatwood looked amazing in his first two starts of the year when he tossed a combined 12.2 innings and allowed just one earned run on only six hits and struck out nineteen, and the Cubs won both games. But in his last start, he got blasted by the Kansas City Royals to the tune of eight earned run in only two and a third innings pitched. So, which version of Chatwood should we expect tonight against the weak hitting Tigers?
When the Detroit Tigers started the season out by winning nine out of their first fourteen games, it felt VERY fluky. I looked at this roster and just didn’t see a level of talent that would explain that much winning. So, I figured that, at some point, the Tigers would regress, and would finish near the bottom of the American League standings by year’s end, as most expected them to at the start of the season.
And that is just what we have seen here recently, as Detroit is really starting to struggle. When you look back on that hot start for the Tigers, you have to wonder if it was just some soft scheduling that made them look better than they actually are? The Tigers picked up wins against the Reds, Royals, and Pirates. Those teams are a combined 22 games under .500 on the year. Since then, Detroit has played the White Sox, Indians, and Cubs, and they are 3-11.
Spencer Turnbull (2-2 3.65 ERA)
Spencer Turnbull got his first shot at being an everyday starter for Detroit last season and finished with an embarrassing 3-17 record. His ERA wasn’t all that bad a 4.61, but he did get very accustomed to losing every time out. This year, Turnbull took advantage of that soft competition we talked about earlier and went 2-0 with a 2.000 ERA in his first three starts.
But in his last two starts, where he has faced some tougher competition, he has looked a lot like the guy that led the AL in losses last year, as he has gotten pounded for six earned runs in just 6.2 innings pitched, and didn’t make it past the fourth inning in either start.
Who Do I Like?
I mentioned above that the Cubs have been manufacturing runs by drawing a lot of walks. And guess what has been Spencer Turnbull’s Achilles Heel this season? Walks. Turnbull has handed out fifteen free passes already this season in just 24.2 innings. He has had four walks in a game three times in only five starts. That spells disaster for him in this game, as the Cubs love to work the count and make a pitcher work.
And this isn’t a short sample size fluke for Turnbull, as walks have always been his biggest issue. Last year, he had a W/9 ratio of 3.6 and averaged nearly two walks per start. It is hard enough to shut teams down in the Major Leagues if you make them actually hit the ball, and if you are going to be giving away walks, like people in the wealthy neighborhoods give out full-size candy bars on Halloween, you are going to be in really bad shape.
I think the Cubs hammer Spencer Turnbull in this one. He had a couple good starts against teams that can’t hit, and that has fooled the public into thinking he is a quality starting pitcher; he’s not. He is going to throw way too many pitches, and I would be shocked to see him still in the game after the fifth inning.
The Cubs haven’t exactly instilled a lot of confidence in their ability to drive those runs in, but in a spot where they are going to have baserunners on the basepaths all evening long, I think they will do more than enough to score enough runs to win this game.
I doubt that Tyler Chatwood will be very good either, and this is likely to be a higher scoring game, but I am shocked to see this as a tight line. And I am even more shocked that the public has been backing the Tigers, moving the line slowly towards Detroit most of the morning. I will do what I love to do, and that is fade the general betting public, and back the Chicago Cubs tonight on the road. Give me the Chicago Cubs as road favorites tonight, laying -125!