We get an American League Central Division showdown to kick off the regular season at 4:10 p.m. ET at Target Field. These two rivals might be doing battle down to the bitter end this season, as it won’t be a runaway like Cleveland has been accustomed in recent years.
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Cleveland Indians vs. Minnesota Twins: Projected Starting Pitchers
RHP Corey Kluber vs. RHP Jose Berrios
The two-time Cy Young award winner Kluber had his name actually tossed around in trade rumors during the offseason, but the Indians management wised up and know that pitching is the one area where they’re heads and tails better than anyone in the Central.
Kluber is 3-2 with as 3.04 ERA and 57 strikeouts across 47 1/3 innings with a .206 opponent batting average in seven starts since the start of the 2016 season against the Twins.
He’ll be countered by Minnesota’s ace Berrios, who won his only decision a season ago against the Tribe in three outings while posting a 4.24 ERA. He did strike out 17 over 17 innings vs. CLE, while the Indians mustered a dismal .197 average against him.
Cleveland Indians vs. Minnesota Twins: By the Numbers
- The Indians have run roughshod over the AL Central in recent seasons, winning 80 of their past 114 games against division foes.
- Kluber finished up last season with a dismal 1-4 mark in his final five road outings.
- The Twins hope to carry over the momentum from last season, as they won 10 of their final 11 against Central teams, but they were 1-5 in his Berrios’ final six outings.
Cleveland Indians vs. Minnesota Twins: Key Injuries
The Indians were really banged up in the spring, and they’ll be without the services of All-Star Francisco Lindor, who has had calf and ankle injuries. His return date is uncertain at this point. Jason Kipnis is also on the mend due to a calf injury. The good news is that Jose Ramirez (knee) expects to be in the lineup, so that will help.
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Cleveland Indians vs. Minnesota Twins: Picks and Betting Tips
Moneyline: The Twins (+102) are listed as short ‘dogs at home, and they’re a good value play since the Indians have a bunch of new pieces, and a couple of injuries to starters. Minnesota should win Game 1 with their ace on the bump.
Against the spread: If you’re a cautious bettor, taking the Twins on the run line (+1.5, -164) is the way to go. Personally, that’s not for me, as I’ll bet a run line favorite, but never a run line ‘dog.
Over/under: The pitchers are likely to dominate, and the ‘under’ (7.5) is the way to go. The under is 5-0 in Kluber’s past five starts at Target Field, while the under is 8-2-1 in the past 11 meetings in this series.