MLB Betting Notes: Carrasco and Berrios Meet Again in Divisional Duel
Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Carlos Carrasco.
Minnesota’s offense has showed signs of life the past two days — scoring eight runs in consecutive contests (both losses). However, those outbursts came against two starters making their MLB debuts. They won’t have that same fortune tonight, as they will face Carlos Carrasco — the 2017 AL wins leader.
The Twins will counter with their ace, Jose Berrios, which will set up a rematch of the pitchers’ duel in Puerto Rico in mid-April earlier this season. Minnesota won that game 2-1 in 16 innings in a game that saw both Berrios and Carrasco pitch seven scoreless innings.
Ultimately, the Twins didn’t carry any momentum from that win, finishing the rest of April with a 1-10 record. They ended the month of May in similar fashion, losing seven of eight after a defeat on Thursday night. Let’s kick off June baseball by looking at whether Berrios can get the Twins on track in a division they find themselves now trailing the Indians by 6.5 games.
Cleveland Indians (-117) at Minnesota Twins (+108) | O/U: 8.5
Carlos Carrasco (6-3, 3.98 ERA) vs. Jose Berrios (5-5, 3.67 ERA)
8:10 p.m. ET
Cookie Cutting: In Carrasco’s career as a starter, Cleveland is 47-28 on the road, profiting bettors 12.2 units. Over the last four seasons, the Indians have a stellar 34-15 record in 49 road starts by Carrasco. That makes him the most profitable road pitcher in Cleveland by almost six full units. Carrasco has won three consecutive road starts in Minnesota, with a 2.00 ERA and .206 BAA (Batting Average Against). Over that span, he’s allowed only four extra base hits to the 70 batters he has faced. — Evan Abrams
As Evan noted, Cookie Carrasco has some interesting home/road splits. Just look at his performance as a starter since 2014:
If you looked just at ERA, you’d think Carrasco is a totally different pitcher at home. While that looks true on paper, luck most likely plays a major role. His opponents’ BABIP (Batting Average on Balls In Play) and HR/FB rate (home run to fly-ball rate) both are a good deal higher at home.
Based on ownership trends, it appears fantasy players have picked up on these splits. However, that probably just means you should play him next time he’s at home. Even though he has pitched inconsistently of late, he should have plenty of chances to rack up Ks vs. the Twins and reach value considering his $1,400 monthly salary drop. FantasyLabs predicts 7.9 strikeouts for the righty, putting him in the 96th percentile historically.
Using the trends tool, pitchers in the 95th percentile or higher with a monthly salary drop of at least $1,000 have put up an average Plus/Minus of +3.03 along with a 61.7% consistency. Carlos looks like a solid fantasy option. — Mark Gallant
Right Stuff: Even though these teams combined for 17 runs last night, the under deserves some attention. Mostly because the Twins offense has really struggled through the first two months of the season. Before Thursday night, Minnesota boasted a .699 OPS, 88 wRC+ (weighted runs created plus, 100 is average) and .305 wOBA against right-handed pitching on the season.
You might want to point to the Twins’ .287 BABIP and say they’ve been unlucky, and there’s some truth to that. However, their .316 xwOBA (expected wOBA) still rates well below the 2018 MLB average of .332. Cookie should cut through this lineup. — Michael Leboff
Which Jose? Berrios started off white-hot before hitting a rough patch, but has since gotten back on track. After appearing to get control of his nasty curve once again, Berrios has pitched into the eighth inning in three straight starts. Over that stretch, he has allowed a total of only five earned runs with a superb 27:4 K:BB ratio.
Berrios has kept his walks down this season, as he’s one of only 12 qualified pitchers with a BB% under 5%. He also loves pitching at home, where he owns a career ERA almost 1.5 runs lower: 3.94 vs. 5.41. Like Leboff, I think the under is the play — although you may want to look first 5 under considering how poorly both bullpens have pitched. Cleveland owns the worst bullpen ERA in all of baseball at 6.13, while Minnesota ranks 23rd at 4.36. That said, I think both starters go deep. — Stuckey
Division Domination: The Indians have started the season more slowly than many expected they would, but Monday marked the start of a stretch of play that includes 23 of 25 games against the AL Central. Since 2016, the Indians have the best record against division opponents in all of baseball at 112-57 (66.3%). — John Ewing
Fun Fact: Carrasco threw an immaculate inning (striking out the side on nine pitches) in 2017 — a feat only 85 other pitchers in MLB history have accomplished. — Stuckey
Stats via Baseball Reference and FanGraphs