Behind Verlander, Bet Tigers in Interleague Opener at Diamondbacks

justin verlander tigers

Doug Upstone

Tuesday, May 9, 2017 3:37 PM UTC

Tuesday, May. 9, 2017 3:37 PM UTC

Detroit has to find answers fast or it could be another lost season. The Tigers blew two leads in the bottom of ninth over the weekend at Oakland, which prevented a sweep. They have moved on to the Arizona desert to open a quick series Tuesday.

The Diamondbacks have recently lost four of six to first place Colorado and tumbled into 3rd place in the NL West. Both Arizona and Detroit could use a sweep of this brief two-game interleague series. I will be after a fourth straight winner tonight for MLB picks.


Pitching Matchup: Velander Vs. Ray

Justin Verlander (2-2, 4.21 ERA) started this season fast, got blasted a couple times and has settled back down. The right-hander had a 1.35 ERA and two outings later that had blown up all the way to 6.04 on rumors of pitch-tipping and later fastball command. In Verlander's previous two starts, he's allowed only nine hits in 14 innings and two earned runs while striking out 13. Verlander is 2-0 with a wicked 1.84 ERA vs. Arizona.

If Robbie Ray (2-2, 3.47) could have greater command of the strike zone, he could be quite a pitcher. Ray can be impossible when he has two strikes on hitters, with 49 punchouts in just 36.1 innings. The downside to his pitching is he also walks a batter every other inning on average (18) and if he happens to give up a hit or two, suddenly the other team hangs a crooked number. The left-hander has few single-digit pitch innings, which is why he does not go deeper in games. Ray has never faced Detroit, but made his big-league debut in a Tigers uniform in 2014.


Scoring Runs Should Favor D-Backs

In Arizona's past seven games it has only averaged 2.9 RPG, and the previous six were on the road where they have scuffled all year. In downtown Phoenix they pound out 6.5 RPG, which explains their 12-5 record at Chase Field.

Detroit is averaging 5.2 RPG in the traveling grays and for years has crushed left-handed pitching, thanks to Miguel Cabrera and others. Though the Tigers have a 5-3 record versus lefties this year, they have only put up 3.2 RPG. It will be interesting to see how they do tonight.


Betting Odds & Bullpen Numbers

Arizona was released as a -125 home favorite and at last look was under -110 at most sportsbooks' MLB odds with a total of 8.5. Because these clubs meet only every three years, nothing to report on history. Once again the Detroit bullpen is a bigger mess than a one-pound hamburger with melted cheese and onions, with the worst ERA in the majors at 4.83 and seven blown saves. The Snakes have moved up to 10th in bullpen ERA at 3.87 and are converting 80% of save chances.


The Winner Is ... 

Ray would not be thought of a "stopper," since he and the D-Backs are 10-25 coming off a loss. While the Detroit bullpen scares the you know what out of me, the Tigers are 20-7 after three or more consecutive 'overs' and I will side with them.

MLB Free Pick: Tigers -105Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

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