After winning back to back games for the first time this season, the Detroit Tigers (5-7) travel west to face the Oakland Athletics (6-6) Game time is set for 10:05 pm est on Thursday.. Taking the mound for Detroit will be left hander Phil Coke (0-2, 4.00).
In their last game, the Detroit Tigers
defeated the Texas Rangers
3-2. Brandon Inge hit a solo home run in the bottom of the 9th inning to give the Tigers the victory. It was the 2nd time in two days that the Tigers won in the last at bat of the game against the Rangers. It's also the first series that Detroit has won this season. Closer Jose Valverde picked up the win to go 2-0 on the season.
In the Athletics last game, they defeated the Chicago White Sox
, 7-4 in 10 innings. The Athletics rallied from a 4-1 deficit to score 3 runs in the 9th inning and 3 runs in the 10th inning to secure the victory. Hideki Matsui hit his 2nd home run of the season and Grant Balfour picked up the victory while Brian Fuentes earned his 5th save of the season.Leader of the pack
Superstar slugger Miguel Cabrera has proven that he can put his off-season problems aside and still remain one of the premiere hitters in baseball. Cabrera has been playing well as of late. On Tuesday, he knocked in the winning run against Texas to secure a victory for the Tigers. Thus far this season, Cabrera leads the Tigers in batting average, home runs, and runs batted it. In 12 games, Cabrera has 4 HR, 10 RBI, and is batting .349. with an OBP.of .442. Cabrera has had limited at bats, going just 1 for 6 against Gio Gonzalez. Gonzalez is a pitching well but anytime Miguel Cabrera steps up to the plate, he's a legitimate threat to the opposition. In his career, Cabrera has had 7 straight seasons of 100 RBI and has hit over 30 HR in 6 out of his last 7 seasons. A good pitcher against a great hitter, this should be a good matchup in this game.Perfection
Victor Martinez has carved out a solid career for himself. He's a lifetime .299 hitter and hit 20 HR, 79 RBI, and batted .302 last season. Except for his batting average, he's had a solid start to the 2011 season. Martinez has 3 doubles, 2 HR, 8 RBI and is batting .222. Look for the batting average to improve. It's early in the season and this is a player that can hit.
Martinez has had success against the upcoming opposing pitcher Gio Gonzalez. He's a perfect 3 for 3 against Gonzalez with 2 doubles. Not only that, Martinez has had major success against the Athletics. For his career, Martinez has 3 HR, 18 RBI, and is batting .330 in 50 career games against Oakland. Detroit will definitely be looking for a similar performance against Oakland on Thursday night from Victor Martinez.Hooray Jose
Closer Jose Valverde has been on the mark in this short season thus far. A team needs a closer that they can count on and Valverde has proven to be reliable. In 5 games, Valverde has pitched 4 2-3 innings and has given up just 3 hits and has 2 saves. If this game is tight, the Tigers can feel secure about Valverde.
Oakland's offense has been slow to get out of the gate. They rank 22nd in home runs (7), runs batted in (40) and are hitting just .236 on the season which is good for 21st in the league. They'll need Gio Gonzalez to have a big performance.Gio Gonzalez
He leads the Athletics in wins and earned run average at 2-0, 0.69. Gonzalez had a very solid 2010, going 15-9 with a 3.23 ERA. He hasn't been so successful against the Tigers. In 3 games versus Detroit, Gonzalez is 0-3 with 10.22 ERA.Oakland Wood
Speedster Coco Crisp has been in somewhat of a slump lately but has still managed to swipe 5 bags without being unsuccessful. Crisp also has 2 doubles, 2 triples and is hitting .250 on the season. Look for the batting average to increase. Crisp has had success against the Tigers for his career. He's hit 6 HR, 33 RBI and batted .326 in 76 games against Detroit.
Godzilla hasn't lived up to the hype since he's come to the United States but Hideki Matsui has established himself as an above average hitter that can come through in the clutch. He's also a world champion. Matsui is just coming off a game where he hit a home run. On the season, he's hitting .262 with 2 HR and 7 RBI. He's a legitimate hitter with major experience that is always a threat for the A'sAll or nothing
This has been the motto for the season that Josh Willingham has had thus far. Willingham leads the team with 3 HR and 7 RBI but is hitting just .244 and has already struckout 17 times this season.Outcome of the game
This game will come down to the pitching. Gio Gonzalez has been rock solid for Oakland but has a history of getting mashed around by the Tigers. Oakland reliever Brian Fuentes has had a solid start to the season but he's very erratic from watching him play with the Los Angeles Angels previously. Detroit has a definite advantage on the offensive end and has won 2 straight games in dramatic fashion. I like the dog at the MLB betting
window. Take the Tigers.Pick: Detroit +135