In a rematch of the 2016 World Series, the Chicago Cubs will play host to the Cleveland Indians on Tuesday night. The game kicks off a two-game series between the teams after both had an off-day on Monday. At home, the Cubs are favorites with a moneyline of -153 compared to Cleveland’s +138.
Cleveland heads to the Windy City losers of six in a row after getting swept by the Twins over the weekend. That stretch also included three straight losses against the last-place Royals.
The losing streak has the Indians firmly in third place in the AL Central, five games behind the White Sox, and three back of Minnesota for a guaranteed playoff spot. On the bright side, the Indians have a comfortable lead in the Wild Card standings, so barring a disaster, they should be playing October baseball.
The Cubs continue to hold a comfortable lead atop the NL Central, a division they’ve led for most of the season. Before Monday’s off-day, Chicago had won five of its last seven games, including a 12-0 shutout of the Brewers on Sunday in Alec Mills pitched a no-hitter. Unless the Cubs suddenly go cold, they should win the division crown and host a first-round playoff series.
Yu the Man
Yu Darvish will get the start for Chicago on Tuesday. Despite picking up a loss in his last start, Darvish has been brilliant this season and is a contender for the Cy Young. Over his nine starts, he’s 7-2 with a 1.77 ERA and had won seven consecutive starts before taking the loss against the Reds last week. However, he’s pitched at least six innings in all but one start this year and allowed one run or less in seven of his nine starts in 2020.
Darvish will also be facing one of the worst lineups in baseball. Despite being a virtual-lock for the postseason, everyone in Cleveland’s lineup outside of Franmil Reyes and Jose Ramirez has had a disappointing season.
The silver lining is that Ramirez and Francisco Lindor have heated up in September, but the Tribe doesn’t have the depth to do much damage most days. Also, Darvish has good numbers against most of Cleveland’s lineup, save for veteran infielder Cesar Hernandez.
Always a Chance
Of course, with Cleveland’s rotation, the Indians always have a chance to win, and that’ll be the case with Carlos Carrasco starting on Tuesday. Through nine starts, Carrasco has a 3.12 ERA, although a lack of run support has left him with a 2-4 record in 2020. Carrasco has been particularly dominant lately. Over his last three starts, Carrasco has pitched 19 innings, allowing just two runs on 15 hits while striking out 19.
However, the Chicago lineup poses plenty of potential problems. Ian Happ and Jason Heyward have been the team’s standout hitters this year while Kyle Schwarber and Anthony Rizzo have provided plenty of power. Since the calendar flipped to September, catcher Willson Contreras has also heated up, giving the Cubs even more depth.
Windy City Blues
With Carrasco pitching, the Indians have a chance to get into a low-scoring pitcher’s duel, which is typically their best chance for getting a win. However, with the Tribe losing six in a row, it’s hard to put much faith in them, even though the moneyline makes them an intriguing option given their record.
With Darvish on the mound, there’s a chance that the Cleveland lineup gets shutout, whereas the Cubs should be able to scratch out a couple of runs. Bet on the Cubs to beat Cleveland on Tuesday.