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Indians Aiming to Tie Twins for AL Central Lead

Jose Ramirez #11 of the Cleveland Indians runs out a solo homer during the second inning of game two of a double header against the Texas Rangers at Progressive Field on August 07, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio.

On June 3 the Cleveland Indians were 11½ games back in the American League Central race, but the Tribe have an opportunity to join the Minnesota Twins at the top of the division with a win over the Twinkies on Friday.

Indians vs Twins Game Center

Standout Stats

Sportsbooks opened the Indians as -140 road favorites with a total of 9.5.

With a 7-5 victory in the series opener on Thursday, the Indians improved to 40-16 in their last 56 contests and are 19-6 since losing the first two games after the all-star break to Minnesota.

The Twins are 4-3 on their 10-game homestand and have given up 30 runs in three straight setbacks entering tonight’s tilt.

Shane Bieber will get the ball for the Indians. Bieber (11-4, 3.31 ERA) recorded his second complete game in three starts on Sunday, surrendering two runs and five hits while registering eight strikeouts in a win over the Los Angeles Angels.

Bieber is 1-0 with a 3.52 ERA in two games (one start) vs the Twins in 2019.

Devin Smeltzer will counter for the Twins. Smeltzer (1-1, 2.28) has thrown at least six innings in each of his first three major-league appearances after limiting Kansas City to two hits and a walk over six scoreless innings on Sunday.

Smeltzer is 1-0 with a 0.84 ERA in four contests (two starts) at home this season. He’ll have to watch out for Francisco Lindor, who’s 2-for-2 with a pair of home runs and a walk against Smeltzer this year.

My Best Bet for Indians-Twins

UNDER 9.5 runs

While the Twins’ penchant for giving up runs at Target Field over the past few games might scare away some UNDER bettors, I’m confidently picking the UNDER 9.5 runs to cash in this game. Bieber’s transition to the ace of the Indians staff has been something to behold and his recent numbers speak for themselves.

Besides, Cleveland has been an excellent UNDER wager of late. The Indians have gone below the closing total in five of their past six, and the UNDER is 18-7-1 in Bieber’s last 26 starts overall. Take the UNDER.