Cleveland Indians Shortened MLB Season Pick, Odds and Prediction

Cleveland Indians Shortened MLB Season Pick, Odds and Prediction Photo by Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Cleveland Indians 2020 Shortened Season Preview

2020 MLB Season

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The Cleveland Indians will battle for the top spot in the American League Central during the 2020 MLB season. 

Cleveland is coming off a 93-69 record in 2019, finishing second in the division behind the Twins. Despite the solid record, the Indians finished three games out of a Wild Card spot and missed the playoffs. In the shortened 2020 season, Cleveland will try to move up in the standings and get back to the postseason. Check back all season long for free MLB picks and MLB predictions at Sports Chat Place. 

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Let’s take a closer look at Cleveland’s current status and break down the team’s chances at hitting their projected win total this season. 

The Indians were the victims of a really talented American league in 2019, even within their own division. Minnesota finished with 101 victories in a charmed season, while Wild Card squads Oakland (97 wins) and Tampa Bay (96 wins) left no room at the playoff table for Cleveland. Perhaps fittingly enough, the Indians just didn’t play well against either of those teams in the season series, going 1-5 versus Oakland and 1-6 against Tampa Bay. The Indians were competitive against other AL powerhouses though, with a 10-9 record against Minnesota and a 4-3 record against the Yankees. 

The shortened 2020 MLB season does offer the Indians ample opportunities to reestablish themselves as a playoff team. There will be a heavy 40-game slate versus the AL Central: 10 games apiece versus the Twins, White Sox Royals and Tigers. Cleveland will also match up against the NL Central for the other 20 games, and that competitive division could get tricky. The NL Central is wide open with solid teams on paper, and the Cardinals, Brewers, Cubs and Reds each have a realistic shot at taking the division title. Pittsburgh seems to be the relative outlier in that group, but Cleveland will obviously want to pick up wins wherever they can. 

The Indians return a promising lineup to the field in 2020. Francisco Lindor will be a key producer, and certainly has the capability for 10 homers, 10 steals, 30 runs and 30 RBI—that would be quite an achievement in 60 games. Oscar Mercado, Carlos Santana, Jose Ramirez and Franmil Reyes highlight the top part of the batting order in Cleveland, and there really aren’t a ton of weaknesses with those guys. We should see a lot of production and runs scored from the Cleveland hitters. 

Figuring out starting pitching rotations could potentially become an early issue for the Indians, so that will be an area to watch. Shane Bieber is the No. 1 guy after a 15-8 record and a 3.28 ERA in 2019, and we’ll likely get to see Aaron Civale in an expanded role. Then it’s Zach Plesac, Adam Plutko and probably some combination of Carlos Carrasco and Mike Clevinger filling out the starter spots. Cleveland will have to ease Carrasco and Clevinger back into action initially; both guys are coming off injuries but should be back to full health by now. Once the rotation is solidified and the Indians have a rhythm down, there’s more than enough talent here to supplement the offense. 

Pick: Going over. I’m pretty high on Cleveland this season. Once the team gets back on the field and into daily baseball mode again the Indians should be able to rely on talent to keep things humming along. If the starters settle in well and and the back end of the batting order doesn’t become a liability on offense, there’s no reason why the Indians shouldn’t win games consistently. I fully expect Cleveland to be at or very near the top of the AL Central standings by year’s end. 

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The pick in this article is the opinion of the writer, not a Sports Chat Place site consensus.