- The Cleveland Indians starting rotation has been hit hard by injuries
- The Minnesota Twins lead the majors in slugging (.493) and have the 4th-best ERA in the AL (3.84)
- The latest AL Central odds see the Twins closing the gap on Cleveland
Back in March, the Cleveland Indians’ were -400 favorites to win the AL Central, not because they were a great and complete team, but because the squads around them didn’t look very good.
Those odds appear to have underestimated the might of Minnesota. The Twins were huge +400 underdogs on March 22nd, but are considerably shorter after a fantastic first six weeks.
Updated 2019 AL Central Odds: May Edition
|Chicago White Sox||+4000|
|Kansas City Royals||+25000|
*Odds taken 05/07/19
Twins are among the Top Team’s in MLB’s Power Rankings
The Twins are 21-12 after beating the Blue Jays in game one of a three-game set on Monday, while the Tribe are 18-15, three games back.
The Twins’ .636 winning percentage is the second-best in the majors, behind on the Tampa Bay (.647), and they are leading the majors in slugging (.493) through May 4th.
Two huge wins and now A.L. Player of the Week! #MNTwins
— Minnesota Twins (@Twins) May 6, 2019
Jorge Polanco has been leading the way for the Twins, hitting .362, while Byron Buxton leads the majors with 15 doubles. He hit just 18 doubles in his previous 168 games combined.
Shockingly, the Twins’ pitching staff has been better than Cleveland in the ERA department, with its starting staff having a 3.69 ERA versus the Indians’ 4.11 mark.
In just his third full season, 24-year-old Jose Berrios has been great for the Twins. He sports a 5 -1 record with a 2.91 ERA and 46 strikeouts. He is pitching much better than his career 4.31 ERA and has been holding opposing teams to a 0.97 for WHIP.
He had flashed huge potential in his first two years, but struggled with consistency. This year, the good has dwarfed the bad and we could be witnessing the emergence of a true ace.
Corey Kluber and Mike Clevinger Are on the IL
No one was predicting Cleveland’s lineup to mash. They were heavy favorites thanks to their pitching staff.
But two of their top-four starters — Corey Kluber and Mike Clevinger — are out indefinitely. On Saturday, Indians manager Terry Francona said that Kluber will be in a cast for the next three weeks and will be X-rayed once a week to see how the bone is healing.
Clevinger was put on the injured list after just two starts in April with a back injury. It looked like he might not touch a baseball for 6-to-8 weeks. He is progressing well now and is eligible to be activated from the IL on June 7.
Cleveland’s two star hitters — Francisco Lindor and Jose Ramirez — have not been able to make up for the underperformance of the pitching staff.
Lindor is batting .192 over his last seven games and only .226 over the previous 15. He isn’t looking like a hitter with a .287 lifetime average.
Ramirez, meanwhile, is batting a measly .200 against his .281 lifetime average and has an inflated 21 strikeouts, continuing a concerning trend. He struck out 62 times in 2016, 69 in 2017, but then ballooned to 80 in 2018.
The Best Bet
As their decisive wins against the AL West-leading Houston Astros showed, the Minnesota Twins are the real deal. They have the hitting to rack up runs, and even if starters like Jake Odorizzi come back to reality, they will score enough to beat up on AL Central also-rans Detroit, Chicago, and Kansas City.
Bet on the Twins to be standing atop the AL Central at the end of the 2019 season.
Pick: Minnesota Twins to win the AL Central (+125)
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