When the 2019 MLB season began, there were high hopes for the Minnesota Twins, but the race in the AL Central was deemed over before it started. With the pitching staff the Cleveland Indians have, they were expected to win the division yet again. No one appeared to be even remotely close enough in talent to be considered a contender.
Yes, the Twins were expected to be better, but not quite good enough to contend for the division title. However, with right around 60 games in the books this season, it seems safe to say they will fight for the division crown this year.
Of course, it helps that the Detroit Tigers are struggling as are the Kansas City Royals. The Chicago White Sox have not been above .500 the entire season. With the plethora of injuries the Cleveland Indians have been hit with, it is hard to see them recovering this season.
So—does that mean it is time to go all in on the Minnesota Twins to win the AL Central?
If you look at the odds that 888sport.com has posted for the five teams in the AL Central, the answer to that question would appear to be an emphatic, “Yes!” The odds are heavily in Minnesota’s favor:
- Odds to win the AL Central Division
- Minnesota Twins -1250
- Cleveland Indians +650
- Chicago White Sox +15000
- Detroit Tigers +25000
- Kansas City Royals +50000
That means the Twins have a 92.59 percent chance of winning the division with over 100 games still to play. The Indians, on the other hand, have just a `13.33 percent chance. It wouldn’t be shocking if the odds change in the near future in light of Cleveland’s latest injury issue—pitcher Carlos Carrasco is out indefinitely due to a blood condition.
With the odds for the Indians likely to get longer, it stands to reason that the odds for the Twins could get a whole lot shorter. The odds for everyone else are already pretty long. So—does that mean it is safe to go all in on the Twins to win the AL Central even though there are still 100 games to be played?
With so much baseball left, it is hard to say that it is safe to bet the farm on the Twins to win the division (although you would have to to win any money with those odds). Minnesota is off to a hot start, and at some point, they are bound to slow down a little.
If or when they do, even if they don’t extend their current lead, they will have a heck of a cushion. As of June 5, they had 10.5 games on the Indians and 12 games on the White Sox. A double-digit deficit is hard to overcome at any point in the season.
But not impossible.
The ’78 Yankees were 14 games back of the Red Sox on July 20 and managed to win the division that year. The ’95 Mariners were 13 back on August 3 with 55 games to go and got the job done. In 1969, the Mets trailed by ten games on August 14 and went on to win the division by eight games!
Comebacks like that do not happen often, but it does happen, and it doesn’t require as much time as the rest of the teams in the Al Central have. However, that doesn’t mean anyone is capable of doing it.
It is hard to imagine the Royals doing it with a pitching staff that has a cumulative ERA of 5.27. Detroit is pitching a little better (4.75 ERA). But it would take a historic turnaround for either team to make a comeback happen.
Chicago is playing much better than expected already. However, to overcome their gap would require a team that is overachieving already to overachieve even more. Yeah— not going to happen.
That leaves the Indians.
Even if they get most of their ace pitchers back and everyone starts living up to their expectations and potential, the Indians may not have enough firepower to drive the comeback. They are not hitting the ball very well this season (.226 BA). As a result, they aren’t generating runs (239 through 60 games; 26th in the league).
If your pitching staff doesn’t allow runs, you don’t need to score. But that is a lot of pressure on the pitching staff.
Cleveland may make a run, but with how the Twins are hitting and pitching, it would require an epic collapse for them not to win the AL Central. So, if you are going to bet on them, do it now. Their odds are only going to get shorter, making the payout even smaller.