The Minnesota Twins are clinging to a 1.5-game lead in the AL Central entering Monday's marquee matchup with the Cleveland Indians.
Minnesota edged Kansas City 5-4 on Sunday to stay out in front in the division, and Cleveland fell 7-4 to Detroit. Both clubs are 7-3 in their last 10 games, though, so with both showing good form, this rivalry clash should be a fun one.
Continue reading for the rest of abe Insights' preview, highlighted by a breakdown of the primary betting lines, listings for the best odds available, salient stats and more vital information for Twins-Indians.
Date: Monday, August 24
Time: 7:10 p.m. ET
TV: FOX Sports North; SportsTime Ohio
Implied Probabilities: Twins 51%; Indians 51%
Spread: MIN -1.5 (+155); CLE +1.5 (-165)
Moneyline: MIN -105; CLE -103
Kenta Maeda has been an excellent addition to Minnesota's pitching staff. The former Dodger has made five starts in 2020 and is 3-0 with a 2.27 ERA, including six innings of one-hit, shutout ball against Cleveland on Aug. 1.
Maeda will face off against Aaron Civale, whose 3-2 record isn't an indication of how strong he's been. Civale has a 2.91 ERA and hasn't gotten proper run support, which has been a persistent problem for the Indians all year to date.
.172 vs. .126: A year after leading MLB in this category, the Twins are just 18th in isolated power — but they're the first number. That second set of digits is Cleveland's total in the same statistic, ranking dead-last among all 30 teams.
11.9 vs. 9.6: If the Indians have done anything well at the dish in 2020, it's been drawing bases on balls at the highest percentage of any club in baseball, represented by the first number. Minnesota's percentage of walks is decent, however, ranking 12th.
30.2 vs. 27.1: This stat matchup is both teams' relief pitchers strikeout percentages for the season. Cleveland has the edge here, yet the Twins are just one slot behind, placing fourth in MLB. Thus, even when Maeda and Civale leave the hill, runs should be hard to come by, much less getting the ball in play.
Maeda is keeping hitters off balance this season by deploying his fastball far less than he has in the past. Per FanGraphs, Maeda is throwing the heat 19.2% of the time. He throws fastballs 33.5% of the time for his career. The Twins dealer has continued to rely more on the slider and changeup to great results, including a near-no-hitter in his last outing.
As for Civale, he's got such a deep, balanced pitching arsenal that it's difficult for batters to get a bead on him. His cutter, changeup and slider account for 49.7% of his pitch count, and all average between 82.4 and 87.5 mph. But Civale is most devastating with his go-to sinker (30.2% usage).
Keeping the ball down has to be the primary objective for any pitcher against Minnesota's lineup, which is littered with power hitters. The Twins have been something of a sleeping giant this year, though, failing to follow up their insane 2019 campaign of an MLB-record 307 home runs.
One man who hasn't let up at all is Nelson Cruz. With a .343/.435/.687 slash line, 10 homers and 26 RBI, Cruz is picking up right where he left off last year. The problem is, Minnesota's other four sluggers with five or more dingers are all batting below .250.
That's a problem Cleveland would love to have, though. Hitting has been a Sisyphean effort for the Indians, as they often squander strong pitching in frustratingly low-scoring losses. If ever the offense gets figured out, Cleveland has as good a chance as anyone to win the World Series, since the postseason is so predicated on dominant pitchers.
Minnesota's lingering offensive upside will tempt bettors to bet on the Over, but with such good pitchers taking the mound to start, look for the public to slightly skew action toward the Under run total.
The odds tell us this contest is the equivalent of a coin flip. Due to the aforementioned superior ability the Twins have to get extra base hits, Minnesota's moneyline and spread are both more appealing options and should comprise a higher percentage of bets.
Note: Odds current as of 9:45 a.m. ET on Monday, August 24.
Back to top