Cleveland at Minnesota MLB Betting Preview, Pick & Prediction

Posted by Michael Hunt on Tuesday,April 18, 2017 10:58, EST in

The Cleveland Indians are making their first trip of the season to AL Central rival Minnesota this week, with the teams playing Game No. 3 of a four-game set on Wednesday night. It’s ESPN’s Wednesday Game of the Night and the Tribe will be favored on MLB odds.

Cleveland at Minnesota MLB Betting Preview, Pick & Prediction

When: Wednesday, April 19, 8 PM ET
Where: Target Field, Minneapolis
Probable pitchers (away/home): Trevor Bauer/Adalberto Mejia
TV: ESPN
StreamMLB.tv
RadioCleveland / Minnesota
Opening MLB Lines: Indians favored by TBA

Why Bet On Cleveland?

Indians manager Terry Francona said Monday that Jason Kipnis (shoulder) could be activated from the disabled list as soon as Friday in a “best case scenario.” The second baseman is one of the best offensive players at that position in the majors.

Kipnis had to pause his rehab assignment when he was hit on the left hand by a pitch last Wednesday, but he returned to action for Triple-A Columbus over the weekend and had two hits Sunday. He’s just 3-for-13 with a 5/0 K/BB ratio so far in rehab games, so the Indians would surely like to see Kipnis make some strides at the plate before activating him.

Entering this series, the Indians had scored 55 runs, the most in the AL Central, but the majority of those have come in just a few games. The team put up 19 runs in the first two games against the Tigers over the weekend, but only one game resulted in a victory. Saturday’s game, in which the Indians put up 13 runs, seemed to be a sign of changing times. Nine players recorded a hit in the game. But then the offense mustered up a single run on Sunday, marking the fourth time the team put up two runs or less in a game this season.

It’s Trevor Bauer (0-2, 8.44) on the mound. In his last start, Bauer gave up six runs on eight hits (two home runs) in a loss to the Tigers. At the end of the first inning, Bauer threw an inside pitch to Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera. Maybe having flashbacks of last September’s game in which Bauer hit three Tiger batters, Cabrera was upset at the location. He let the umpire know, he let Bauer know, and he let the Indians bench know between innings. Cabrera’s outburst, coupled with the Indians bench laughing at him, prompted home plate umpire Clint Fagan to issue warnings to both sides.

In 11 career starts against the Twins, Bauer has gone 1-5 with a 5.32 ERA and 60 strikeouts.

Why Bet On Minnesota?

On Sunday, Brian Dozier proved his right knee is just fine, as the Twins second baseman hit his first career inside-the- park homer in the fifth inning of Sunday’s 3-1 loss to the White Sox. It was also the first in the Majors this year. It was the first homer of the season for Dozier, who belted a career-high 42 last year.

Dozier, who missed Saturday’s game with knee soreness, smacked a 1-2 cutter from right-hander James Shields into deep center field, and the ball hit off Jacob May’s glove and rolled along the warning track toward right field. Dozier beat the relay throw from shortstop Leury Garcia at home with a head-first slide to mark the second inside-the- park homer in Target Field history. He joined Eduardo Nunez, who had an inside-the- parker for the Twins last year.

The Twins rank 10th in the American League in batting average (.233) and in slugging percentage (.375). Though they finished last in the AL Central at 59-103, the Twins won nine of the 19 games against the Indians last season. Each team scored 92 runs in the season series.

The Twins go with rookie Adalberto Mejia here. He won the No. 5 spot this spring. Mejia was originally signed by the San Francisco Giants as a free agent from the Dominican Republic in 2011. His track record in the Giants system was inconsistent, with solid seasons of pitching in 2013 and 2015, but struggles in 2014 as well as a PED suspension on his resume. He traded last summer for Eduardo Nunez.

Mejia (0-1, 4.05) was much better in his second career start, going five innings against the White Sox in a no-decision on Friday. He allowed one run on four hits and three walks

Cleveland at Minnesota MLB Betting Pick: Minnesota Twins

Slight pitching advantage to the Twins here because the Indians have never seen Mejia.