Cleveland (Salazar) -145 at Minnesota (Milone) O/U 7.5
Tough spot here for the Twins who enter off of yesterday’s six hour, 16-inning loss at Washington. Minnesota’s offense was abysmal the last two games of the series posting a .151 BA, .233 OBP, .209 SLG% and worst of all 38 strikeouts in 83 plate appearances (45.8% K rate). That latter number won’t help much here versus Indians hard throwing RH Danny Salazar who has struck out 23 batters in his 18.1 innings of work thus far. While the opposing offenses in his three starts may not be elite MLB groups, Salazar has allowed only 14 total bases on eight hits (1HR) teams are hitting a collective .129 against him. The only sore spot for Salazar thus far is his base on balls nemesis which is almost 4.5 per 9 innings. While the Twins have been one of MLB’s worst hitting teams this month, they do have the eighth most walks with 66 so maybe they can capitalize on Salazar’s weakness. Salazar was 2-1 vs. Minnesota last year with a 0.89 WHIP and a 5:1 K-BB ratio (25 Ks, 5 BBs). Cleveland isn’t the only team with a pitching edge here since Minnesota’s LH Tommy Milone has gone 3-1 with a 1.27 ERA in his last five starts against Cleveland. To add to that, the Indians have not hit well against lefties this season posting a .223 BA, .277 OBP, .326 SLG% in 233 AB against them. Statistical indications show starting pitcher should fare well tonight but the bullpen situation figures to create a large advantage for Cleveland. The Twins relief corps is totally spent after the Washington series with all seven bullpen arms working yesterday with five of them recording pitch counts of 26 or more. Must also note that at any time during this series, Indians star OF Michael Brantley could return to the lineup after opening the season on the DL. Fully expect the current form of these teams to continue through tonight so lean here is with Cleveland.