Free Picks: Minnesota Twins vs Cleveland Indians

Twins vs Indians Week 5
Minnesota Twins vs Cleveland Indians, MLB, Progressive Field

The Minnesota Twins (7-15) face the Cleveland Indians (11-11) for the third and final time this series, with the Indians in position to lock up their second series sweep of the season. It’s difficult to envision things getting any worse for the Twins, who lost all four games of a recent road trip, lost in a three-game series against the dismal Pirates and are now on the cusp of whiffing in three games against a divisional foe. The pitching matchup makes this one interesting, though, because it leans quite heavily in Minnesota’s favor.

Can J.A. Happ will Twins out of disastrous slump?

The Minnesota Twins have lost nine of their past 11 and are on the verge of getting swept. Oh, and by the way, they’re also favored to win on Wednesday.

That’s right, despite a mountain of recent evidence to show that the Twins have been anything but favorable, they’re seeing -132 money line odds (10Bet) among Wednesday’s MLB picks, while the Cleveland Indians — winners of three in a row and leading the Twins in the standings by four games — lag as +110 underdogs. How do you figure that?

Well, we’ll just tell you. Minnesota’s J.A. Happ (1-0, 1.69 ERA) has been substantially better than Cleveland’s Logan Allen (1-3, 6.28 ERA), to the extent that oddsmakers think Happ can pitch the Twins out of this slump. Happ hasn’t lost in six consecutive starts dating back to last year, while posting a 2.01 ERA in his past seven starts. That’s a recipe for winning ball games.

Oh, and just look at the most recent outing for these to pitchers to see how far apart they are: Happ earned the win while tossing 7 1/3 innings of one-hit ball, while Allen was chased after 2 1/3 innings by allowing five hits and four runs in a losing effort.

From a team perspective, the Twins seem due for improved results. They led early in a 7-4 loss to Cleveland on Tuesday, after falling 5-3 in extras on Monday. In total, Minnesota’s past six losses have come by just 15 runs (i.e. 2.5 runs per game, not a terribly wide margin). They have two offensive weapons who are absolutely scorching (Byron Buxton and Nelson Cruz, both with OPS totals in excess of 1.000), but the lineup lacks depth.

On one hand, it’s difficult to side with a team that has been so cold in the standings. And the Twins’ 25th-ranked bullpen (4.95 ERA) doesn’t make their case any stronger. But if things are going right for Happ, the bullpen won’t need to do much, and neither will the inconsistent offense.

Don’t forget that this Twins team — slightly different, albeit with many of the same characters — set an MLB record for home runs just two seasons ago. They’ve got plenty of pop, and against Allen (who yielded three homers his last time out), a couple of swings might be enough of a separator for Happ to handle the rest.

We’re going to stay away from the run total in this one, because who knows how those late innings will shake out, but for our BetPicks prediction we like the Twins on the money line, dodging the sweep and getting back on track with Happ.

Stats

  • Minnesota is 2-8 on the money line in its past 10
  • The OVER has cashed in five of the Twins’ past nine games
  • Cleveland is 4-6 on the money line in its past 10
  • The OVER has cashed in six of the Indians’ past 10 games

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Jordan Horrobin is a freelance sports journalist based in Toronto, Ontario, who enjoys sports-related research and telling engaging stories. His work can also be found at Sportsnet, Forbes and elsewhere. Though he abandoned most of his team-specific fandoms in the interest of unbiased analysis, Jordan roots hard for his fantasy football/hockey teams (and he's a complete homer for all things Ohio University). You can follow Jordan on Twitter at @JordanHorrobin

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