It was nice to get into the win column with last night’s pick between the Nationals and Braves from Atlanta.
It was a little bit of a worrisome start as the two clubs combined for five early runs with the Braves holding a 3-2 lead after just three innings. However, both starting pitchers settled in from there while the bullpens combined to throw 3.1 innings of scoreless baseball en route to a 4-2 Braves victory.
Atlanta leapfrogged Washington for first place in the NL East with the win.
We will switch to the American League tonight and more specifically the AL Central as the Cleveland Indians pay a visit to Target Field to take on the Minnesota Twins.
The two clubs played an exciting ball game last night to say the least as Cleveland blew an 8-0 lead before going ahead again in the eighth on a Francisco Lindor solo home run, his second of the contest. The win was an important one as the Indians stretched their lead over the Twins to 6.5 games while they are now clear of the second-place Tigers by 4.5 games, but obviously with lots of season left.
Let’s take a closer look at tonight’s matchup between these two AL Central foes.
Cleveland Indians vs. Minnesota Twins
Carlos Carrasco (3.98 ERA 3.70 FIP, 1.11 WHIP) vs. Jose Berrios (3.67 ERA, 3.62 FIP, 0.95 WHIP)
As good as the Indians offense is at home, they don’t swing the bats nearly as well on the road. Cleveland enters tonight’s contest with just a .299 wOBA on the road, good for 22nd in the MLB while their road OPS of .690 also checks in at 22nd. Cleveland is a top two team in most offensive categories at home, but there is no denying that their offense scuffles a little but once they hit the road.
Carlos Carrasco’s splits are pretty much the complete opposite of his team’s offensive splits. Carrasco has posted an ugly 5.59 ERA and a weak 4.95 FIP in 29 innings at home this season, however he brings a nice 2.91 ERA and 2.87 FIP across 42.1 road innings into tonight’s contest. He is not pitching in much traffic in general this season with that 1.11 WHIP, however that figures drops to 0.97 on the road while he’s issuing walks at just a 4.2% clip on the road. His tidy 5.5% overall walk rate is an encouraging mark and continues a career-long trend of excellent control for the right-hander.
Active Twins hitters have hit just .214 with a .657 OPS in their history against Carrasco.
While Carrasco’s splits favor the road, Berrios’ definitely favor home matchups and it’s been that way throughout his young big league career.
On the road this season, Berrios has posted a 4.55 ERA, however at home he has pitched to a 2.92 ERA while his 2.20 home FIP suggests he’s been even better than that solid ERA figure would suggest. Berrios has held opposing hitters to just a .168 average at Target Field while also holding them to an extremely low .210 wOBA. His 30.2% strikeout rate and 4.3% walk rate at home are also very encouraging figures.
The fact Berrios is very good at home combined with the Indians offense dropping off on the road bodes well for this pick.
Active Indians hitters sport a combined .151 batting average and a tiny .351 OPS across 76 plate appearances in their history against Berrios.
While the Twins mustered an eight-run comeback last night, their offense has been a fairly mediocre one. At home, their .308 wOBA ranks them 21st in the league while their home .705 OPS ranks 19th. Their team .706 OPS against right-handed pitching checks in at 21st league-wide.
With Carrasco pitching so well on the road and Berrios pitching very well at home, I like the chances of run suppression tonight. Factor in Cleveland’s weak road offense, the Twins mediocre home offense and the batter versus pitcher numbers referenced above and I believe we have a concoction for a low-scoring affair tonight from Minnesota.