Prior to the 2019 baseball season getting underway, the AL Central was though to belong to the Indians with maybe the Twins sticking around until at least the all-star break. That’s not how the first two months have played out as all as Minnesota has built up the biggest division lead in the majors (11.5 games) and it’s actually the White Sox, and not Cleveland, who are actually in 2nd.
The Indians can make some headway starting in the June 4th MLB free pick as they host Minnesota as significant -138 favorites. Of course, there’s great value on the Twins as +127 road underdogs too.
Twins Look to Continue Strong Road Play
Minnesota didn’t get their current road trip off to the best of starts, dropping a 3-14 decision in Tampa Bay last Thursday. Rocco Baldelli’s team did buckle down to rattle off three straight wins at Tropicana Field against a very solid Rays squad. Minnesota has now gone 13-3 in their last 16 road games and the burden of being on the road is lightened with an off day Monday.
What’s impressive about Minnesota ranking 1st in the majors in runs/game, HR, BA, and OPS, is that they’ve done it without their top offseason acquisition Nelson Cruz for over the last three weeks. That will change in the June 4th MLB free pick as Cruz has been activated from the DL. The Twins have slowed a bit on their record HR pace with just 4 over the past week, but they’re still getting on base led by Byron Buxton (.429 OBP) and Jorge Polanco (.421 OBP) over that span.
Devin Smeltzer’s dominant MLB debut on Tuesday came with some added emotion for the 23-year-old lefty https://t.co/2nuR3gCoXX
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) May 29, 2019
The Twins might not need a whole lot of runs if rookie Devin Smeltzer pitches like he did in his MLB debut last Tuesday. The lefty held a potent Milwaukee lineup to just 3 hits and 0 ER over 6 IP. There’s tape of Smeltzer now, but no Indians have ever faced him which has to give the Twins at least a slight edge in this one.
Indians Turn to Bieber to Try and Capture Series Opener
There’s not a lot of positives going on for Cleveland heading into the June 4th MLB free pick. The Indians are just 4-10 overall and have gone only 1-6 in their last 7 home games. One bright spot in this down year for the Tribe has been Shane Bieber. The Indians have won four straight Bieber starts at home and have gone 5-2 in his last 7 on 5 days rest. Cleveland had an off day Monday to try and regroup from losing 3 of 4 in Chicago to the White Sox over the weekend.
When Bieber’s on – he’s really on as evidenced by 25 K’s and just 1 ER allowed in 14 IP over his last two home starts. Sandwiched between those outings is two road starts where the right-hander allowed 6ER to Boston and 5ER to the White Sox. Is his stuff that much better at home, or can an offense as superb as the Twins get to the right-hander? Bieber is probably going to have to be great Tuesday as the Indians offense was held to 1ER and 0ER in 2 of the last 3. That being said Carlos Santana (.348, 2HR) and Francisco Lindor (.375, 1HR) have had a good past week hitting.
June 4th MLB Free Pick Betting
It’s seems like anytime you can get Minnesota as an underdog these days you take it. Yes, Bieber has been great at home lately and it’s possible that Smeltzer was a fluke in his MLB debut last time out. That Twins offense though, especially when compared to Cleveland’s as of late and also with the return of Cruz to the lineup. It may be a trap, but at least it’s a “value trap.”
MLB Free Pick: Minnesota Twins +127