Twins’ Devin Smeltzer throws in his major league debut against the Brewers on May 28 (Jim Mone)
Twins’ Devin Smeltzer throws in his major league debut against the Brewers on May 28 (Jim Mone)|Associated Press

Baseball Tuesday - Frank on Indians v Twins, Rockies v Cubs, Reds v Cardinals, Smeltzer, Bieber, Hoffman, Castillo, Cabrera

Greg Frank

Greg Frank

Side of the Day:
Indians (-130) over Twins

Best Total of the Day:
Rockies at Cubs (Over 10.5)

Next Best Total of the Day:
Reds at Cardinals (Over 8.5)

The Skinny: I’m looking at three games tonight for my action on the diamond . . .

Let’s start on Lake Erie where the Cleveland Indians are a short home favorite against the Minnesota Twins. You might be thinking why should the Minnesota Twins, who are holding an 11.5-game lead on Cleveland be an underdog tonight? It’s certainly fishy, but when sportsbooks post lines and prices like that, do not fall for the trap. Usually those kinds of games are a pass, or a wager on the side your initial reaction would tell you is improperly priced. I’ve yet to find a sportsbook that gives out free money, but if anyone does, please let me know. Getting back to this specific matchup, my guess is oddsmakers are banking on some regression from Devin Smeltzer in his second big-league start and first on on the road. Then consider Shane Bieber toeing the rubber for the Indians on Tuesday (and he’s been the best pitcher for the Tribe so far in 2019 averaging over 11 strikeouts per nine innings and five punch outs for every one walk) and we’ll lay the dollar and thirty cents to back Cleveland . . .

Hitting conditions will be ideal tonight at Wrigley Field with temperatures in the 70s and the wind blowing out to left at 12 miles per hour. The Rockies bats were cracking most of last week and while Colorado just wrapped up a long homestand, we’re thinking it will at least start the road trip this week with four or five runs. The Cubs should score at least seven tonight given Jeff Hoffman is who the Rockies are sending to the mound. Hoffman has been up and down between the big leagues and AAA, and there’s a reason for that. In 15 innings in the big leagues in 2019, the right-hander has allowed 12 earned runs, 20 hits and three home runs. Chicago should tag Hoffman for at least five tonight and if the Cubs can just add a couple more against the Rockies’ bullpen, this game goes over 10.5 . . .

Conditions are also ideal for hitting in St. Louis and the total is two runs lower than it is on the North side of Chicago. Reds starter Luis Castillo has been one of the bright spots for Cincinnati in the first half, but he might be hitting a bit of a wall which is to be expected for someone with only one full season of starting pitching experience in the major leagues. Castillo’s ERA has risen by more than half a run in his last two starts and he hasn’t gotten out of the sixth inning since May 10. Castillo’s counterpart tonight for the Cardinals is left-hander Genesis Cabrera who is making just his second start in the majors. Cabrera was shelled to the tune of five runs on five hits in less than four innings of work last week in his debut in Philly. He’ll probably last longer tonight, but look for both of these starters to put up rather mundane lines tonight and allow at least three runs apiece in less than six innings. That already gets us two-thirds of the way over the total. Just in case our projections are a little off, we’re going over the full game total of 8.5 rather than over five in the first five innings. The first five total is probably slightly inflated based on that same assumption that neither starter will have his best stuff tonight. With a full game total of 8.5, you would normally see the first five total be 4 or 4.5, so at 5, there’s not much value.

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