Cleveland Indians (65-52 SU, 52-65 RL, 42-66-9 O/U) vs. Minnesota Twins (59-58 SU, 58-59 RL, 51-57-9 O/U)
MLB: Thursday, August 17, 2017, Target Field, Minneapolis, Minnesota, 1:10 pm ET
Lines: Cleveland -129, Minnesota +119; Over/Under: 9.5
The top two teams in the AL Central conclude a series in the Land of 10,000 Lakes. The Cleveland Indians are on the road for the last of three against the Minnesota Twins Thursday afternoon. Cleveland rolled to an easy 8-1 victory in the opening game of the series Tuesday night. The pitching matchup for Wednesday night’s middle game of the series saw Carlos Carrasco go for the Indians against Minnesota’s Kyle Gibson. First pitch in the game was set for 8:10 pm ET.
Cleveland Indians Look to Stay Hot
Cleveland rolled to a fifth straight win and extended their lead in the AL Central to six games over the Twins and Royals. The Indians got three hits each from Carlos Santana (three runs, three RBI) and Austin Jackson (run, three RBI) in the win. Santana (his 17th and 18th), Jason Kipnis (his 9th), Edwin Encarnacion (his 27th) and Jackson (his fifth) all homered in the victory. That offensive barrage was more than enough for Danny Salazar (5-5) to get the win. He continued his recent strong stretch as he threw seven innings, allowing a run on three hits with no walks and 10 strikeouts.
Mike Clevinger gets the ball during his 18th appearance and 15th start of the year for the Indians in this contest. He comes in 6-4 with a 3.65 ERA, a 1.279 WHIP, 41 walks and 90 strikeouts over 81.1 innings of work this season. Clevinger picked up the win in his last outing, which came on the road against the Rays Saturday. He allowed no runs on four hits with one walk and nine strikeouts over seven innings in a 4-0 Indians triumph. Clevinger is 1-1 with a 6.28 ERA, a 1.88 WHIP, seven walks and 16 strikeouts over 14.1 innings in his last three starts. This marks his fifth career start against the Twins: he has a 0-1 record with a 3.78 ERA and a 1.56 WHIP in 16.2 innings of work. Clevinger has no record with a 2.25 ERA and a 0.875 WHIP over eight innings in his two career starts at Target Field.
Minnesota Twins Try to Regroup
Minnesota was blasted in the opening game of the series and looks to get back on track in this one. The Twins remained half a game behind the Angels for the second wild card spot in the AL entering Wednesday night. Minnesota finished with just three hits in the loss: Eddie Rosario (run) and Max Kepler each doubled while Byron Buxton (RBI) had a single. The Twins fanned a dozen times in the contest without drawing a walk. Bartolo Colon (4-10, 2-2 with Minnesota) took the loss on the mound: he allowed three runs on seven hits with four walks and three strikeouts over five innings.
Jose Berrios takes the ball to make his 18th start of the year for the Twins in this contest. He is 10-5 with a 4.27 ERA, a 1.202 WHIP, 30 walks and 88 strikeouts over 99 innings of work so far this year. Berrios recorded a no-decision in his last start, which came on the road against the Tigers on Saturday. He allowed six runs on six hits with two walks and no strikeouts over 3.1 innings in a 12-11, walk-off Twins defeat. Berrios is 1-1 with a 7.04 ERA, a 1.24 WHIP, five walks and 10 strikeouts over 15.1 innings in his last three starts. He makes his fifth career start against the Indians in this contest: he is 2-2 with a 5.31 ERA and a 1.131 WHIP over 20.1 innings of work. Berrios is 6-6 with a 5.53 ERA and a 1.414 WHIP over 70 innings in his 13 career starts at Target Field.
- Indians are 2-6 in Clevinger’s last 8 starts with 4 days of rest
- Twins are 4-1 in their last 5 vs. a team with a winning record
- Twins are 7-2 in their last 9 overall
- Twins are 7-2 in their last 9 games on grass
The Indians have opened up a comfortable lead in the AL Central with their recent hot stretch but they’re not out of the woods yet. Minnesota, even with Tuesday’s loss, had won seven of nine entering Wednesday night. Clevinger has bounced in and out of the rotation of late but is coming off a stellar outing in his last turn. Berrios struggled his last time out but has been a solid starter for the Twins this season. Pitching at home, you have to give the advantage to the Twins in the series finale.
Pick: Minnesota Twins +119
Cleveland has opened up breathing room thanks to a recent hot stretch, coupled with a rough couple weeks for the Royals. The Twins had won seven of nine entering Wednesday but the team is still being outscored by a hefty 57 runs this season. That’s not a sustainable number if you expect to have a winning record when the season comes to an end. Berrios has scuffled a bit of late but he’s been for the most part, a stabilizing force in the Twins’ rotation, especially with Ervin Santana doing his typical second half fade. The Twins need more from their rotation if they hope to stay in the playoff picture.
The under is 5-0-1 in the Indians’ last 6 road games vs. a right-handed starter, 3-0-1 in their last 4 on grass, 6-0-1 in their last 7 games vs. a right-handed starter, 4-0 in their last 4 during game 3 of a series and 9-1-2 in their last 12 overall. Minnesota has seen the under go 3-0-1 in their last 4 home games vs. a team with a winning road record, 9-1 in their last 10 Thursday games and 6-1-1 in their last 8 home games vs. a team with a winning record. The teams have seen the under go 13-3 in their last 16 meetings: given the way pitching has been for Cleveland lately, this one seems poised to stay under the number as well.