MLB Betting: Brandon Beachy to pitch the Braves to victory

It’ll be an offensive explosion when the Cleveland Indians visit the Minnesota Twins on Thursday. Both starting pitchers have been well below league average this season. The Indians’ Carlos Carrasco has a 0-4 record with a 7.75 ERA. In addition, against the Twins, he’s not done well.

In a small sample set – 27 plate appearances – Twins hitters have a fantastic .444 on base percentage against Carrasco. The Twins’ Kyle Gibson has been highly hittable as well. He has a 6.43 ERA, but has done even worse at home where that statistic balloons to 8.79. This is the first time Gibson will face Indians hitters and it will likely be a rude introduction.

Cleveland ranks fourth in the American League (out of fifteen teams) in runs scored per game. Another fact that augurs well for a run fest: Target Field has ranked eighth (out of thirty) Big League stadiums in run scoring this season, according to ESPN’s MLB Park Factors. Look for the total run count to exceed 9 runs and take it at 1.91.

A healthy Brandon Beachy means a home victory is likely for the Atlanta Braves against the Philadelphia Phillies. Beachy was on the fast track to Major League success in 2012 when an elbow injury shelved him on June 16. Up until then, he had a sparkling 2.00 ERA in 81 innings pitched last year. The rehabilitation after surgery was long, and Beachy didn’t make his debut this year until July 29.

Not surprisingly, the first outing was rough. He gave up seven runs in 3 2/3 innings against the Colorado Rockies. His second attempt was a bit better: he allowed three earned runs in 6 1/3 innings versus the Phillies he faces in this contest. But expect Beachy to throw even better in this one as he gets stronger.

The proof: In his third start, he pitched eight scoreless innings, allowing just three hits and one walk while striking out six. Admittedly, that game was against the Miami Marlins, but still it shows he’s returning to form. (Also, it’s not as if the Phillies are tremendously better offensively than the Marlins; Miami does rank last in the National League in runs scored per game, but the Phillies are fourth-to-last).

The Phillies will counter on the pitcher’s mound with John Lannan. Though I’m generally a fan of the scrappy left-hander, Lannan has generally struggled this season (4.81 ERA) and, against the Braves, he doesn’t have a great history. In 163 plate appearances, the Braves own a .295 batting average against Lannan. All this strongly suggests that the Braves are the right pick.

Best bets

Over 9 runs in Cleveland Indians vs the Minnesota Twins at 1.91.

Pick the Braves to beat the Phillies at 1.40.