One of the more intriguing games on the MLB schedule on Saturday night is the Milwaukee Brewers taking on the Cleveland Indians. The Brew Crew took the first game of the series on Friday night 7-1 after the Cleveland bullpen fell apart. However, the Indians are slight favorites at home on Saturday with a moneyline of -120 compared to Milwaukee’s of +110.
Friday’s win brought the Brewers between a game of .500. Despite the losing record, Milwaukee would make the playoffs if the season ended today.
The Brewers are currently tied with the Cardinals for second place in the NL Central, although the Reds are just two games back of both teams. That means three teams within two games of one playoff spot, putting pressure on the Brewers to keep it going after winning five of their last seven games.
Meanwhile, Cleveland is also in a tight playoff race. The Tribe enters Saturday half a game behind the White Sox in the AL Central but tied with the Twins. That means Cleveland has some work to do if they want to win the division or finish second.
The silver lining is that the third-place team in the AL Central will be in good shape for a Wild Card spot. Nevertheless, the Indians will want to push for the division crown and are in a good position, with this being the second game of a seven-game homestand.
Let’s Be Civale About This
Aaron Civale will take the mound for Cleveland on Saturday. Through his first seven starts of 2020, Civil is 3-4 despite an impressive 3.72 ERA. The 25-year-old has done well to build off a promising rookie year but has been victimized by poor run support.
However, Civale appears to be moving in the wrong direction in his last couple of starts. In his last time out, he gave up five runs on eight hits over six innings against the Cardinals. On the bright side, Civale has pitched at least six innings in every start this year.
On Saturday, Civale will face a Milwaukee lineup that’s struggled this season despite its recent winning stretch. Christian Yelich is still hitting below .200 on the season despite blasting nine homers. Keston Huira also has 10 homers but a disappointing .236 average.
Those two and Ben Gamel are the only Milwaukee regulars with an OPS over .700 this season. It’s been a tough run for the Brewers, who have no one on their roster who previously faced Civale.
Bring the Wood
The Brewers will send ace Brandon Woodruff to the mound on Saturday. Over his eight starts, Woodruff is 2-3 with a 3.67 ERA. Like his counterpart on Saturday, the Milwaukee starter has been hurt by a lack of run support this year. He’s also coming off a troubling outing, giving up four runs, including a pair of homers, over five innings against the lowly Pirates.
Of course, the Cleveland lineup has also struggled this season. Franmil Reyes has taken the lead, hitting eight home runs and boasting an OPS of .957.
Meanwhile, both Jose Ramirez and Francisco Lindor have been solid, although both have underperformed based on expectations. Outside of Tyler Naquin, the Indians aren’t getting much offensive help these days. Also, Saturday’s game will be the first time that most of Cleveland’s hitters face Woodruff.
Brewing Up Trouble
This game is a tossup with both teams having a quality starting pitcher on the mound and a lineup that hasn’t done much damage this year. In such games, it’s wise to take a chance on the underdog with the better payout.
Moreover, the Brewers are heating up with five wins in their last seven games. Bet on Milwaukee to beat Cleveland on Saturday.