The Cleveland Indians took three of four in Minnesota against the Twins, moving back into a tie atop the American League Central. Sunday’s game was particularly gripping, as Francisco Lindor made a terrific relay throw home to get the third out at the plate in the bottom of the ninth, sending the game to extra innings. Cleveland would get a grand slam in the top of the tenth and roll to a 7-3 win. The National League Central is close as well, although the Chicago Cubs have pulled slightly ahead to a two-game lead over St. Louis and a 2 ½-game lead over Milwaukee. Atlanta has a comfortable 6 ½-game lead over Washington in the NL East, while the Dodgers have moved to 19 games over Arizona in the NL West. The Yankees have won eight of ten and lead Tampa Bay in the AL East by 8 ½ games — and Boston by 16. In the AL West, Oakland has won six of ten but still has lost two games in the standings to Houston, who leads the A’s by ten now. We have a couple of primo MLB betting picks from the national pastime for you to consider for the week ahead.
Top MLB Betting Picks of the Week – August 12th
The Indians (4) and Twins (5) are set up for a thrilling stretch run in the AL Central. https://t.co/yVQxSyVHu4
— USA TODAY Sports (@usatodaysports) August 12, 2019
Monday, August 12
Boston at Cleveland (7:00pm ET, ESPN)
- Projected Pitching Matchup: Eduardo Rodriguez (13-5, 4.17 ERA) (BOS) vs Zach Plesac (6-3, 3.13 ERA) (CLE)
Eduardo Rodriguez has been as close to an ace as the Red Sox have had in this 2019 campaign, winning five starts in a row from July 5 until July 27. In his last three starts, Rodriguez has permitted nine earned runs on 19 hits over 17 ⅓ combined innings, striking out 14 and walking 12. That lack of control has pushed his pitch counts up and left too many runners on base. The Red Sox offense continues to produce runs, but Rodriguez will need his best stuff against a Cleveland team building momentum.
The Tribe will start Zach Plesac, the nephew of Dan Plesac, who had an 18-year pitching career in the major leagues. Plesac has been on a tremendous run in Cleveland, as the team has not lost a game in which he started since June 29. Since then, his ERA has dropped from 3.80 to 3.13, and his last start was a gem, in which he threw six scoreless innings against Texas, scattering five hits while fanning seven and walking just two. That was his third scoreless outing in his last five starts. While Boston might be able to hit Plesac, the Indians should also be able to get to Rodriguez.
MLB Betting Prediction: Cleveland 4, Boston 2
Tuesday, August 13
Chicago Cubs at Philadelphia (7:05pm ET)
- Projected Pitching Matchup: Jose Quintana (10-7, 4.23 ERA) (CHI) vs Jason Vargas (6-6, 4.09 ERA) (PHI)
Jose Quintana has gotten some heat for not showing the same “ace” stuff for the Cubs that he did for the Chicago White Sox. Even so, the Cubs have not lost a game that Quintana has started since June 22, when he took a shelling against the Mets, permitting eight earned runs in 4 ⅓ innings. Since then, his ERA has come down from 4.50 to 4.23, and he has won six decisions in seven starts. His last start was a real gem, as he held Oakland to a single run on two hits over seven innings, fanning seven. He has not walked more than two batters in a game since June 16. The moribund offense in Philadelphia will have all it can handle with Quintana on the mound.
Philadelphia counters with Jason Vargas, who came over from the Mets at the trade deadline. The Phillies have lost both of Vargas’ starts, including a clunker in Arizona his last time out when he permitted four runs on four hits, walking three while striking out just one over five innings. The Phillies’ offense didn’t help matters, though, scoring just once in a 6-1 loss. The Phillies still have a chance to wake up and contend for a wild card, but they need to get better in all phases of the game.
MLB Betting Prediction: Chicago 5, Philadelphia 3