MLB Picks: Back Tigers To Take A Swipe At Athletics' Pitching

Thursday, April 28, 2016 11:54 AM GMT

The Tigers bounced back to even this three game set at one apiece but the rubber match awaits this afternoon. Let's evaluate the MLB odds and cash a ticket in this early afternoon contest.

2016 MLB Record (12-7, +4.87 units)

Oakland Athletics (11-11, +1.2 units)
The A's flew into Motown and handed the Tigers a 5-1 defeat to kick off a three game series but last night things were markedly different. Detroit drew first blood when they rocked Oakland starter Sonny Gray for four runs in the second inning. Gray was yanked after only two innings in the shortest start of his three year career in the majors.

When he walked off the mound he had allowed four runs on two hits and four walks en route to the 9-4 defeat. The A's offense is sputtering as they are in the bottom third of all the major offensive categories and dead last in on base percentage (.287).

If there is a hard luck loser in professional baseball it would have to be Oakland's starter this afternoon, Chris Bassitt. The young hurler out of Akron has not won in his last 11 starts and much of that has to do with a repeated power outage from his offense. His offenses have averaged a paltry 1 ½ runs in Bassitt's 22 career starts.

However, the failure in his last outing had everything to do with the opposition teeing off rather than a lack of output from his own lineup. Bassitt was torched by a potent Toronto Blue Jays' lineup that lit him up for a career-high nine hits and six runs over just five innings of work which led to a 9-3 Oakland loss.

Detroit Tigers (10-10, +0.6 units)
A few tweaks in the lineup was all it took by manager Brad Ausmus to awake the slumbering Detroit offense, swapping J.D. Martinez from fifth to second in the lineup with Justin Upton.

Martinez responded with a three-run shot that cleared the upper decks and contributed mightily to the team's bounce back 9-4 victory. Detroit has plated 89 runs on the season which is good for 12th in the major leagues and sports the 11th ranked team batting average at .255.

Anibal Sanchez has gone from being a pitcher who baffles hitters to one who appears baffled himself. Despite a 2-2 record Sanchez brings a 7.00 ERA and a 1.89 WHIP into this contest. In his last outing he was throttled by the Cleveland Indians who ran him off after just two innings plus of work where he surrendered seven runs (six earned) on nine hits in a 10-1 defeat.


Betting Analysis
These clubs have played dead even in Detroit over the past three seasons with each team winning four of the last eight games. The key to this game will not be found in a home field advantage or the visitors somehow magically finding their mojo each and every time they take the field at Comerica Park. No, this is a tale of two pitchers who were both decimated in their last starts and determining which one will have the resolve to shake off that funk and bring a strong showing this afternoon.

Sanchez was at one time a feared pitcher who tossed a no-hitter early in his career and just three seasons ago set a Tigers franchise record with 17 strikeouts in one game. He began the season with a pair of decent, though relatively short performances, going five innings and allowing two earned runs on four hits in wins over the Marlins and Pirates. Subsequently, the Astros touched him for five runs (four earned) over five innings and then came the debacle against the Indians.

However, today he faces an offense that doesn't scare anyone. If Sanchez, a strikeout artist with a penchant for allowing the long ball, can't get well against an offense like Oakland then he may be fading into the sunset of his career. Detroit has the ability to murder the ball and Chris Bassitt appears to be a middle of the rotation guy who can get blown up when he's not keeping the ball down in the zone.

The MLB odds boards have this number just about right with the Tigers laying -130 as home favorites. While Sanchez's last outing makes us leery to include him in our MLB picks, we have seen enough of him throughout the years that we are confident he will rebound and shutdown an anemic Oakland offense.

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Free MLB Pick: Detroit Tigers -129
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker