Matthew Manouli | Mon 16/04/2018 - 13:06 EDT

MLB Puerto Rico Series: History, Betting Trends and Predictions for 2018

MLB Puerto Rico Series: History, Betting Trends and Predictions for 2018

MLB Puerto Rico Series Preview

Welcome back to our MLB Gameday Picks! This is a bonus for you guys so we'll be looking at things a bit differently. Our focus will be on the Puerto Rico series games. While teams will be fundraising and attending ceremonies starting Monday, the actual two game series between the Cleveland Indians and the Minnesota Twins begins on Tuesday at 7:10pm ET on FS1 and continues on Wednesday at 7:10pm ET on ESPN, all from Hiram Bithorn Stadium.

We don't have our record available just now, but we'll have everything as usual on our Wednesday picks article. Since these games don't have a line yet, we will proceed with caution while making our picks. These also won't count on our official record, win or lose.    

MLB Puerto Rico Series Betting Trends

  • Cleveland is 26-9 in their last 35 road games.
  • The Indians are 4-0 in Kluber's last 4 starts when he has at least 7 days of rest.
  • The team is also 20-7 in Kluber's last 27 against AL Central opposition.
  • Minnesota is 8-3 in their last 11 against division rivals.
  • They are 8-18 in their last 26 against the Indians.
  • The Twins are 5-2 in their last 7 games.

MLB Puerto Rico Series 2018 Predictions

Game 1 Pick: Cleveland Indians

Let's start with GAME 1. Corey Kluber (1-1, 1.57 ERA) will get the start for the Cleveland Indians to open the series. The ace has struck out 27 in just 23 innings pitched this season. The AL Cy Young Award winner has only allowed four earned runs in that span as well. Kluber has a very encouraging record against the Twins too, sitting at 8-5 with a 3.31 ERA against them in 19 starts. Kluber also has great numbers against most of Minnesota's roster. Only Joe Mauer seems to pose a threat, but even so, he's only got two home runs off Kluber in 42 ABs.

On the other side, the Minnesota Twins are starting Jake Odorizzi (1-0, 2.20 ERA). The righty's only played 16.1 innings in three starts, yet has also given up four earned runs. A point of concern in his 10 walks as well. Odorizzi hasn't had much experience against the Indians' roster, but he does surprisingly well against Edwin Encarnacion, holding him to .167 in 30 ABs. The rest of the team mostly does well against him, but the sample sizes are too small to place value in.

We don't know what the line will be for this one, but we're looking at Kluber to continue to dominate here. If the price is too high though, Minnesota as dogs on the RL could be of value. The Cleveland ace isn't a given to play at high level in Puerto Rico, although he does have great numbers against them. Our play will be tentatively on CLEVELAND here. If the price is unreasonable though, don't be shy to take the Twins on the RL, but common sense says Indians here.

Game 2 Pick: Minnesota Twins

As for GAME 2, the Indians see Josh Tomlin (0-1, 9.00 ERA) to the mound. His start to 2018 has been, shall we say... a little lackluster. After a back problem limited his performance in his debut in Anaheim, where he allowed eight runs in just three innings, Scrubs had a solid scoreless five inning outing against the Tigers his next time out. The righty will have to watch out here against the Twins, as they mostly have decent numbers against him. Jason Castro is .545 in 11 ABs, Brian Dozier is .258 in 31 ABs, Joe Mauer is .381 in 21 ABs, and Eddie Rosario is .500 in 18 ABs. 

For the Twins, it's homecoming for Jose Berrios (2-1, 2.18 ERA). The 23-year-old will be pitching just 20 minutes from his hometown of Bayamon in Puerto Rico. He is estimated to have around 150 family members and friends there to cheer him on. Berrios had an impeccable last start, throwing seven scoreless innings against the White Sox and striking out 11. None of the Indians have a large enough sample size to matter against the Puerto Rican, although Jose Ramirez is .300 in 10 ABs.

This game, unlike the previous one, hopefully won't have an inflated line. The Twins will probably be slightly favored here, so we'll go ahead and take them. Don't take them if they're pushing -200, but anything below that (incl. juice) should be a fine price. Tomlin is a disaster and Berrios is not only playing better, but back home in a still-rebuilding Puerto Rico. Take MINNESOTA in this spot.

Puerto Rico Series History and Events

This won't be the first time the MLB has played at Hiram Bithorn in Puerto Rico. In 2001, the Toronto Blue Jays manhandled the Texas Rangers 8-1 at the stadium on Opening Day. During the 2003 and 2004 seasons, the Montreal Expos played 22 of their home games each season in Puerto Rico. This is because of low home  attendance back up north. The island almost became their permanent residence, but the Expos ultimately relocated to Washington and became the Nationals.

The first similar series to what we are seeing this year happened in 2010 between the Marlins and the Mets. It was a three game series from June 28-30 that saw the Marlins take two of three from the Mets. In 2016, the Marlins were supposed to face the Pirates at Bithorn Stadium to celebrate Roberto Clemente Day, but it was postponed because of the Zika virus outbreak, and eventually just moved to Florida.

Puerto Rico in 2018 is still recovering from Hurricane Maria, which left most of the island without power for months. Monday will start off with the Puerto Rico Series Golf Invitational, which will feature Cal Ripkin Jr. and Roberto Alomar, followed by Francisco Lindor hosting a clinic for around 250 students at his former grammar school. Twins' Game 2 starter Jose Berrios and his teammates will visit the San Jorge Children's Hospital in San Juan later in the afternoon before ending the day with a free Play Ball event.

Tuesday will see the unveiling of mobile response units to help with home reconstruction, the supplies of which were financed by the MLB. On Wednesday, there will be a special ceremony unveiling a memorial of Roberto Clemente.  

Do you agree with our picks? Let us know what you think in the comment section below and be sure to like this article and follow us for more picks. Join us again on Wednesday! 

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