Cleveland Indians(5-2) vs. Minnesota Twins (4-2)
MLB: Saturday, August 1, 2020, Target Field, Minneapolis, MN 7:10 ET
The top two teams in the AL Central square off when the Cleveland Indians take on the Minnesota Twins on Saturday night. The Indians had won the Central Division for three consecutive years (2015-18) until the Twins broke that string in 2019. Now they look to regain supremacy and both teams are playing extremely well. The Indians are tied for the top record in the American League while the Twins are a half-game behind.
The Indians won the opening game of this series, as Shane Bieber absolutely dominating Minnesota, allowing three hits in eight innings, while striking out 13. Francisco Lindor provided the only runs of the game, blasting a two-run homer in the top of the third. That was all the support Bieber needed, as he dominated Minnesota all afternoon.
Carlos Carrasco Throwing Heat in DebutCarlos Carrasco will be on the hill for the Indians. In his first start of the season, the right-hander dominated the Kansas City Royals, allowing five hits, a walk, and two earned runs in six innings. The Royals spent a lot of the evening swinging and missing at pitches, striking out 10 times in the 9-2 Indians win. Jo Ramirez provided the big bat in that contest, going 3-5 with four runs scored, a homer, and four RBI.
Carrasco has made 26 career starts against the Twins, striking out 125 while walking only 40 in over 160 innings pitched. He has a .271 opponent batting average against Minnesota.
The Indians are 14th in the league in batting at .230. they have six homers and have scored 24 runs in seven games. However, the pitching has been fantastic. Cleveland is first in ERA, 1.83 and has already tossed two shutouts this season. As a staff, the Indians have allowed just 8 walks and 42 hits in 64.0 innings pitched, while striking out 86.
Kenta Maeda Solid in First StartThis will be the second start for Twins hurler Kenta Maeda. In his first start of the year, the right-hander was solid, allowing four hits, a walk, and two earned in runs in a 14-2 Twins victory. Maeda went five innings, striking out six. Nelson Cruz had the big bat for Minnesota, going 4-5 with four runs scored and seven RBI. He doubled twice and hit a pair of home runs.
Maeda has only faced the Twins one time, allowing two runs and five hits in six innings. He walked two and struck out four.
The Twins have not been a very good team offensively either, posting a .225 team batting average, 18th in the baseball. They have scored 36 runs in six games, but 14 of those came in the start Maeda made against the White Sox. The pitching has been solid, posting a 3.74 ERA, 11th in the league. In 55.0 innings pitched, the staff has allowed 53 hits and 17 walks while striking out 54.
Minnesota Twins: N/A
Cleveland Indians: N/A
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
This has the makings of an outstanding pitchers’ duel. We already saw that in the first game, and that seems to fit right into the wheelhouse of the Indians. They only need a couple of runs to win games, a luxury the Twins can’t enjoy quite yet.
Look for Carrasco to attack the Twins hitters as he dominates the contest. Maeda will likely be sharp as well, but he will not be able to match the Indians starter.
Prediction: Cleveland Indians
Full-Game Total Pick
As mentioned, this is going to be a low-scoring affair. You have two pitchers who already look great this season squaring off against two offenses that cannot hit right now. The Indians won the opening game thanks to a two-run homer but produced just six other hits in the game. Combined, the two teams only had 10 hits in Game 1.
This has the makings of a contest where one mistake makes all the difference. Carrasco looked brilliant in his first start and we don’t see that as a fluke at all. He is back on his 2014-2018 form, so take the Indians to pull out a tight one, 2-1.
Prediction: Under ()