(Jake Odorizzi photo courtesy David Berding/USA TODAY Sports)
This is the full preview(s) as seen on the Winners and Whiners and Stat Salt websites. The confidence rating for all picks on a scale from 1 to 5 is in parentheses.
Note: The 5/5 does NOT represent the best overall pick of the day’s games when there are multiple games, simply the best pick(s) from each individual game.
When and Where: Friday, Sept. 13, Progressive Field, Cleveland, Ohio, 7:10 p.m. EDT.
The Cleveland Indians look to make one last challenge for the AL Central title as they attempt to cut into their 3 1/2-game deficit to the Minnesota Twins, starting with Friday night’s series-opening showdown between the teams.
Odorizzi tries again to clamp down on Indians
Jake Odorizzi (14-6, 3.60 ERA) had a solid outing versus the Indians six days ago — striking out 10 in 5 2-3 innings — except for one sixth-inning pitch that resulted in a game-tying RBI double by Yasiel Puig. He was charged with a second run when reliever Tyler Duffey uncorked a wild pitch, but the Twins got him off the hook for a loss by rallying for three seventh-inning runs in a 5-3 victory.
The right-hander has kept the Indians in check in all four matchups this season, limiting them to four runs in 22 1-3 innings while winning two. Odorizzi has also struck out 29 in those starts while limiting Cleveland hitters to a .177 batting average.
He recorded a win at Progressive Field on July 13, conceding a solo homer and two other hits over 5 1-3 innings of a 6-2 Twins victory and is 3-4 with a 4.34 ERA in 13 career starts against Cleveland.
The Twins (89-56) were idle Thursday after splitting a two-game series with fellow wild-card hopeful Washington, losing 6-2 to the Nationals on Wednesday night. Minnesota has alternated wins and losses in its last eight games.
Indians rookie Civale continues to impress in stretch drive
Aaron Civale (3-3, 1.93) has done everything and more in his eight starts over the course of the season, stepping into the rotation following the trade of Trevor Bauer to the Cincinnati Reds and never looking back.
The 24-year-old is 2-3 with a 2.21 ERA in seven starts since his second recall and left Saturday’s clash with Odorizzi ahead 1-0 after shaking off a first-inning home run by Mitch Garver to fire four shutout innings.
Civale’s other start against the Twins on Aug. 11 also resulted in a no-decision despite holding them to one run in six innings before the Indians recorded a 7-3 victory.
Looking to bolster the bullpen for this series with closer Brad Hand ailing, Indians manager Terry Francona is expected to call up reliever James Karinchak. The 23-year-old left-hander has terrorized minor league hitters at three different levels, striking out a staggering 74 hitters in just 30 1-3 innings over 30 appearances while going 1-1 with a 2.67 ERA.
“Karinchak misses bats with two pitches that play well off of each other,” reads a scouting report on MLBPipeline.com. “He has a 95-98 mph fastball with riding life that he can throw by hitters at their letters, and a 12-to-6 curveball that he can get them to chase out of the bottom of the zone. He also threw a changeup/splitter as a starter but doesn’t use it much while coming out of the bullpen.”
Cleveland (86-61), which is also a one-half game behind Tampa Bay for the second wild-card spot, wrapped up a 5-1 road trip with a three-game sweep of the Los Angeles Angels. The Indians completed the sweep with a 4-3 win Wednesday as the bullpen tossed 4 2-3 innings one-run and one-hit relief.
The Indians are:
- 8-2 in their last 10 home games vs. right-handed starters.
- 4-1 in Civale’s last five starts vs. AL Central teams.
- 21-7 in their last 28 during game 1 of a series.
The Twins are:
- 2-6 in their last eight games vs. the Indians.
- 1-4 in their last five games vs. starters with a sub-1.15 WHIP.
UNDER 10 runs (-110)
The under has been on a tear for both teams as well as Odorizzi. The under is 10-1 in the right-hander’s last 11 starts and on a seven-game run when he faces the Indians. The under is also on a nine-game run overall for the Twins, an eight-game streak when they face righties and an eight-game run versus above-.500 teams.
The under has also been strong with Civale, going 6-1-1 in his eight starts, and is on a seven-game tear with the Indians. The under has a 6-2-1 mark in the last nine games between the teams at Progressive Field.
This line has surprisingly ticked one-half run higher to 10, instilling more confidence in the under.
Twins UNDER 5 runs (-131)
Taking the Indians and the under means taking the team total under on the Twins is the logical play. Civale’s ability to keep the ball in the park is a good driver for this pick, along with the fact the Twins have been held to five or fewer runs in seven of their last eight games.
Minnesota has also scored more than five runs in only three of 16 games versus Cleveland this season.
UNDER 5.5 runs first 5 innings (-105)
After last week’s pitchers’ duel that was 1-0 in Odorizzi’s favor, the under is a strong play — especially at a surprisingly high number. Odorizzi also delivered the five-inning under in his other three starts against the Indians this year, with no total surpassing four runs.
Civale also delivered a five-inning under in his other matchup against Minnesota.
Indians ML (-110)
Civale has shown plenty of moxie since joining the rotation, but one of the other things is that he rarely makes a mistake twice. The right-hander has conceded just two home runs in 46 2-3 innings over his eight starts, which is no small feat considering he has faced the homer-happy Twins twice.
The other compelling reason to take the Indians is Francona, who has seen this and been there before over his managerial career. Twins counterpart Rocco Baldelli is still operating on the fly, and there may be a crafty move or two left in the bag for Francona to try and steal a victory in this series.
Indians 3-way ML first 5 innings (+111)
There was consideration to taking the draw at +570 given how nip and tuck Civale and Odorizzi were last week in addition to their solid pitching against the opposing team in other starts during the season series. But the pick is the rookie at home getting one more run of support like Odorizzi did last week in Target Field, even if it may be only one run.
UNDER 0.5 runs/NO 1st inning run (-115)
Though Civale served up a first-inning gopher ball in the last matchup, he has not allowed a first-inning run in his three home starts and yielded three in eight overall. Odorizzi has gotten through the first inning unscathed in all four of his starts versus the Indians in 2019, with Saturday’s outing ending a three-start run in which he was nicked early.