The Indians and Twins begin a 4-game series at Target Field on July 30th, and they’re already battling for first place. These bitter rivals are expected to fight for the AL Central title all season, with a chance that the melee spills over into the postseason. The Twins (+1600) have the fifth-best betting odds to win the World Series, and the Indians (+2800) are also in the discussion.
Indians vs Twins Sportsbook Breakdown
Indians Look Smart After Kluber Trade, Fix Sights On Playoffs
When Cleveland traded ace SP Corey Kluber to the Texas Rangers in a move directed at lowering payroll, they may have inadvertently dodged a bullet. On July 28th, the Rangers placed Kluber on the 45-day IL with a right shoulder tear.
They might wish SP Trevor Bauer was still in the rotation, but when your top three starters are named Shane Bieber, Mike Clevinger, and Carlos Carrasco, you’ve got something to smile about. Bieber and Clevinger should both be in competition to win the Cy Young Award this season, and the depth in their bullpen is impressive. Pitching shouldn’t be an issue in Cleveland in 2020.
No major changes to a solid Indians lineup that will continue to count on SS Francisco Lindor, 3B Jose Ramirez, and 1B Carlos Santana for the bulk of their offensive production. Santana is actually hitting for a higher average and with more power over the last couple of years than he has in his entire 11-year career. It looks like RF Franmil Reyes and DH Domingo Santana are ready to make notable contributions to the lineup as well, so there’s upside here.
Twins Add 3B Donaldson, Several Quality Pitchers to Contend Now
Setting the single-season record with 317 HRs in 2019 wasn’t enough to impress the Twins organization, so they snagged former-MVP 3B Josh Donaldson in the offseason. Donaldson is a powerhouse and makes an already scary Minnesota lineup seem terrifying on paper.
There were eight players from the 2019 campaign that had at least 22 homers. The only starter with less than that is CF Byron Buxton, and that’s probably because he only had 295 plate appearances. If the Twins’ lineup keeps hitting bombs and Buxton finally plays up to his perceived potential… WOW.
Minnesota added three quality SPs in 2020 by signing Rich Hill, Homer Bailey, and Kenta Maeda. They were brought in to stabilize a starting rotation that was exposed in the playoffs. That came last season when the Twins got swept by the Yankees. Minnesota also re-signed RP Sergio Romo to lead the closer-by-committee system. Additionally, they scooped up veteran RP Tyler Clippard to add some necessary depth to the bullpen. The Twins are a legitimate contender.
Indians vs. Twins Rivalry
This is an age-old rivalry that started in 1901 between the Cleveland Blues and the Washington Senators. The Indians organization owns the lead in the all-time series, 1159-1015. SP Shane Bieber will carry The Tribe to their 1,160th victory in this game.
Keys to This Matchup
Cleveland ace Shane Bieber struck out 14 Royals in just six innings to set a club record for most strikeouts on Opening Day. He scattered four hits and didn’t give up a run in the victory. The Twins lineup is very dangerous, but it’s hard to bet against Bieber when he’s so scorching hot. It’s important to note that Bieber is undefeated against the Twins, with a 3-0 record in eight games.
Taking the mound for the Twins is Jose Berrios. Berrios got shelled on Opening Day for five runs on seven hits in an early-exit loss to the White Sox. He may regain his footing playing at home, since his career record against Cleveland is 5-2. However, Berrios is outclassed in this particular pitching duel. Look for the Indians to win a huge road game at Target Field in front of about 39,000 empty seats.