MLB Odds, Picks & Predictions: Minnesota Twins vs. Cleveland Indians (Monday, August 24)

Credit:

Hannah Foslien/Getty Images. Pictured: Kenta Maeda.

  • The Minnesota Twins looks to extend their AL Central lead over the Cleveland Indians when the two teams meet Monday at 7:10 p.m. ET.
  • Kenta Maeda is slated to start for the Twins, and Brad Cunningham thinks Maeda and Minnesota are undervalued in this game at -109.
  • Read Cunningham's full betting preview for Twins vs. Indians below.

Twins vs. Indians Odds

Twins Odds -109 [BET NOW]
Indians Odds -106 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 8.5 (-124/+102) [BET NOW]
First Pitch 7:10 p.m. ET

Odds as of Sunday night and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.


Minnesota sends Kenta Maeda to the mound on Monday in hopes he can extend their 1.5-game lead over the Indians in the AL Central. Cleveland will counter with Aaron Civale, who has been rock solid so far this season. He’ll have a tall task trying to shut down one of baseball’s best offenses on Monday.

Advanced Stats Glossary

FIP or Fielding Independent Pitching measures what a pitcher’s ERA would look like if the pitcher experienced league-average defense and luck. xFIP  is a regressed version of FIP that adjusts or “normalizes’ the home run component based on park factors.

wRC+ or Weighted Runs Created Plus takes the statistic Runs Created and adjusts that number to account for critical external factors — like ballpark or era. It’s adjusted, so a wRC+ of 100 is league average, and 150 would be 50 percent above league average.

wOBA or Weighted On-Base Average is a catch-all hitting metric with more predictive value than on-base percentage. An average MLB hitter can be expected to post a .320 wOBA. xwOBA is a regressed version of wOBA that accounts for variables like park factors.

BaseRuns is a formula designed to estimate how many runs a team would be expected to score (or allow) given their underlying offensive (or defensive) performance. In other words, BaseRuns is a context-neutral run estimator used to evaluate teams. Major League average for an individual batter per game is 0.50 BaseRuns and a for a pitcher its 0.52 BaseRuns per inning. 

Twins Projected Lineup

The Twins offense has been fairly stagnant over the past two weeks, accumulating a .320 wOBA and 101 wRC+. However, Nelson Cruz has been on an absolute tear over his last 12 games, hitting five home runs and driving in nine runs.

Minnesota has done most of its damage against right-handed pitching, as it has a .328 wOBA and 106 wRC+, which ranks eighth in MLB. Even though Civale is off to a hot start this season, he’ll have a tough time navigating this Twins lineup.

Twins Projected Starter

Kenta Maeda, RHP

Projected & Actual Stats (via Fangraphs)

Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

Maeda has been fantastic so far in 2020. He’s accumulated a 2.95 xFIP in 31.2 innings pitched, which ranks seventh among qualified starting pitchers.

The biggest change Maeda made since coming to Minnesota is utilizing his slider and changeup more often. In 2019, he went to his fastball more often than any other pitch and wasn’t very successful with it. Now, since he’s throwing his two best pitches (slider and changeup) more often, it’s benefited his fastball greatly, as he’s allowing only a .094 wOBA against it, compared to a .381 wOBA against it in 2019.

Maeda should have a fantastic matchup against this Indians lineup, as they rank in the bottom five of MLB against both sliders and changeups.

Indians Projected Lineup

After a terrible start to the season, the Indians’ offense has graduated from terrible to below average. Over the past 14 days, they’ve accumulated a .311 wOBA and 92 wRC+, which ranks 18th in MLB. The bottom of their lineup still isn’t producing as none of their No. 6 through 9 hitters have a wOBA over .300.

The Indians have struggled against right-handed pitching as well, ranking 24th in MLB in terms of wOBA (.302) and wRC+ (86). Additionally, as I mentioned earlier, they’ve struggled versus sliders and changeups, which are Maeda’s main two pitches.

Indians Probable Starter

Aaron Civale, RHP

Projected & Actual Stats (via Fangraphs)

Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)

Aaron Civale has been fantastic through his first five starts of 2020. He’s posted a 2.91 ERA and 3.39 xFIP, which ranks inside the top 25 qualified starting pitchers. He’s mainly a sinker ball guy, with a nasty wipeout slider. His slider was so good that opponents got just two hits off it in 124 pitches last season.

Civale didn’t project out very well before the season started (ERA and xFIP well above 4), so it’s hard to say if his stellar pitching performances will continue or if he will regress toward the mean.

Bullpens

The reason the Indians are still in the race for the AL Central is because of their bullpen. They have the best bullpen in baseball in terms of xFIP at 3.73. Minnesota’s bullpen has been fantastic as well so far this season, ranking 9th in MLB with a 4.20 xFIP. Cleveland’s stellar bullpen gives them a slight advantage in the later innings for this series.

Projections and Pick 

Given how good Maeda has been and how anemic the Indians offense has been, I think the Twins are slightly undervalued on Monday. I will be backing Minnesota at -109 (DraftKings) and I would bet it up to -120.

The Pick: Twins -120

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