To quote the legendary Ron Burgundy, I was in a glass case of emotion last night sweating out the Colorado Rockies and Chicago Cubs game. I took the underdog Rockies, and expected a tight game, but felt that fading Cubs starter Yu Darvish was the right play. Darvish had an ERA north of five runs on the year, and I felt that the Rockies powerful offense was going to hammer him.
And they did, but the problem was that the Cubs hit German Marquez even harder. This was one of the more entertaining games of the season as the game was back and forth all evening long. The Cubs jumped out to a 3-0 only to see the Rockies tie it right back up. Then Chicago exploded for five more runs to run the score up to 8-3. Game over, right? Not so fast! The Rockies battled back once again as they cut the lead down to just 8-7 heading into the last couple of innings. The Rockies hit the ninth down two runs and cut that lead to just one, and even sent the winning run to the plate, before coming up just short, and losing 9-8.
This game certainly seemed like it could have gone either way as the runs were coming in fast and furious. The fact that I was on the side getting juice, not laying it, makes me feel decent about my bet, even though we didn’t win. For today’s bet, I will take a look at the game between the Cleveland Indians and the Minnesota Twins.
The Minnesota Twins are in Cleveland Thursday, looking to avoid their first sweep of the season. The Twins were riding high coming into this series as they had won ten of their previous twelve games and had the best record in all of baseball. Even with losing the first two games of this series, the Twins still hold a nine and a half game lead over Cleveland in the AL Central Division race.
For Cleveland, they are happy to finally show some signs of life as this season has been quite disappointing thus far. The Indians closed out the month of May by losing nine of their last twelve games, but have gone 3-1 so far in June, and are back to the right side of .500 on the season with the win last night.
Starting for the Twins is Jose Berrios (7-2 3.27 ERA), and for the Indians, it is Trevor Bauer (4-5 3.76 ERA). The game total over-under is set at eight and a half runs. The Indians are -110 home favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 4:10 PM PST from Progressive Field in Cleveland.
If you ask any casual baseball fan who has the best lineup in the majors right now, you will hear lots of guesses of the Dodgers, the Yankees, the Red Sox, maybe even the Astros. One team you likely won’t hear outside of Minnesota, is the Twins. And right now, the Twins have undeniably the best offense in the game. They don’t have anywhere near the star power of those other teams, but when you look at the stats, they are the best, and it’s not even all that close.
The Twins lead the majors in batting average, runs scored, home runs, and slugging percentage. They are 5th in on-base percentage. This team can absolutely hit the baseball. When you flip the script and look at the Indians, they have all kinds of star power. Jose Ramirez, Jason Kipnis, Francisco Lindor, yet they are awful at the plate right now. The Indians are 28th in batting average, 26th in runs scored, 25th in home runs, and 27th in slugging percentage.
With all of those runs getting scored, it is no surprise that Jose Berrios is top five in the American League in wins, with seven. And he could have even more as the Twins are 10-2 in his twelve starts this season. One thing that Berrios has done especially well this season is go deep into games. He has pitched into the sixth inning or deeper in all but one of his starts this season.
And in the one that he didn’t go deep, his team scored eighteen runs and didn’t need him to pitch many innings. Berrios has a quality start, six innings or more, three runs or less, in nine of his twelve starts this season. His best start of the year so far? Against these Indians, where he pitched seven and two-thirds of an inning, and gave up no runs on only two hits and struck out ten.
Last season Trevor Bauer made his first All-Star team and nearly took home the Cy Young Award, as he received more than his fair share of votes. His 2.21 ERA was one of the best in the league. But when you look at his six-year career before last season, his ERA is north of four runs in every season. So, when you look at him struggling this season, with a losing record, and an ERA much closer to his career average, than to last year’s results, you have to wonder if last year was a fluke?
In May, Bauer really struggled as he went 0-4 with an ERA of 5.50. The Indians have lost five out of his last six starts. And the one they did manage to win had little to do with Bauer being any good as he got blasted for seven earned runs. His may ERA could be much worse as he gave up nine unearned runs during the month. His real results have been much worse than even his 0-4 record might show.
I am shocked to see the Indians as favorites here. Yeah, Cleveland has looked good in the first two games of this series and have a shot to sweep tonight, but are we forgetting the rest of the season? The Twins have been the MUCH better team this season. Berrios has been great, and Bauer has been getting absolutely lit up. In six May starts he gave up at least four runs in five of them, and six runs or more in three of them.
The fact that he is favored against the best offense in baseball is mind boggling. So, I will take advantage of what I can only call a terrible line, and back the Twins tonight. It wouldn’t at all shock me to see Minnesota jump all over Cleveland and blow this one out. Give me the Minnesota Twins tonight in game three in Cleveland at +100!