Indians vs. Twins Odds, Preview, Prediction: Does Kenta Maeda Give Minnesota Edge Over Cleveland? (Saturday, June 26)
Ron Jenkins/Getty Images. Pictured: Kenta Maeda
Editor’s Note: Saturday’s game between Cleveland and Minnesota has been postponed because of rain. It will be made up as part of a doubleheader on Sept. 14.
Indians vs. Twins Odds
|Time||2:10 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Friday and via BetRivers.|
The Cleveland Indians look to solidify their second-place rank in the American League Central with their 25th-ranked prospect, Sam Hentges, on the hill against Kenta Maeda and the Minnesota Twins.
Hentges has played the role of opener for the Tribe for much of the season, but with Shane Bieber, Zach Plesac and Aaron Civale all landing on the injured list, he has been thrust into the depleted rotation. In his last outing, he went five strong innings against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
On the flip side, Maeda has not allowed more than three earned runs in a start since April, so he has been a pretty solid option for the underachieving Twinkies, even with discouraging peripherals. Who has the edge here?
Bullpen Is Cleveland’s Strongest Asset
For the Tribe, the starting pitching is fortunate to be supplemented by an incredibly strong relief corps. With six integral pieces under a 3.10 xFIP, you can see how they have been able to hold a solid position in the AL Central.
Emmanuel Clase leads the bunch as the closer with an average of 100 mph on his cutter. If Hentges does not go very deep into this game, it will be up to the strongest part of this Indians’ squad to hold the line.
Cleveland has notoriously poor hitting and it has been that way for a few years. With Franmil Reyes on the bench, José Ramírez and Josh Naylor are the only regulars in the lineup who stand out as above-average against right-handed pitching.
Maeda is a tough matchup even for those two, however. He is one of the better pitchers at working outside the zone, and Naylor ranks in the seventh percentile in chase rate.
It will be a tall task for Naylor, Ramirez and the Cleveland offense to knock out Maeda early and get to the subpar Twins’ bullpen.
Twins Have Struggled, But Offense Has Not
The Twins have a brutal group of relievers. Taylor Rogers and Caleb Thielbar are more-or-less their only reliable options after Maeda gets pulled. Missing Randy Dobnak in long relief does not help, either.
Maeda has only pitched six-plus innings once this season. This is not a strong signal for a ‘pen, which cannot be trusted to hold up in a tight game, even against a rough offense in Cleveland.
On the other hand, the Minnesota lineup is potent against a lefty. The Twins have six regulars who are above-average (100+ wRC+) when facing lefties, and should be able to do plenty of damage against Hentges.
Ryan Jeffers is also slashing .370/.393/.889 in the month of June, giving the depleted Twins another offensive weapon either in the lineup or off the bench. It’s been a surprisingly rough season for the Twins, but the offense isn’t to blame. They should do well against Cleveland’s starter.
These teams are much more even than their records suggest, but this line is clearly giving the edge to the Minnesota lineup with a veteran on the hill.
The Indians do not have enough weapons to push runs across the plate. They desperately need a strong appearance from Hentges to keep them in this one and make it a battle of the bullpens.
The Twins just have the advantage with the bats and Maeda should be able to get them five strong innings. And even with the bullpen’s struggles, Cleveland’s hitting woes make it less of a threat for a late-inning comeback.
Take the Twins with the alternate run line at -1 at -118 and play to -135. They should be able to manufacture runs early and hold the lead.
Pick: Minnesota Twins -1 (-118)