Detroit has taken the first two games of this four-game set, and this handicapper is 2-0 with his picks on this series. But we're greedy, and looking for more on Game 3 Saturday afternoon.
Game 3 Betting Odds
In the early betting most books were chalking Detroit and lefty Kyle Lobstein at around -120 over Houston with Lance McCullers, the O/U offered at 8.5 runs. The Tigers could also be found getting upwards of +165 on the MLB odds board, giving the run and a half on the run line.
Game 2 Recap
Detroit got a quality start from Alfredo Simon and a three-run homer from JD Martinez on its way to a 6-2 victory Friday night. The Tigers, to our delight, won as +105 home dogs on Friday's MLB betting line, and the game sneaked UNDER its total of 8.5 runs.
Simon held Houston to two unearned runs through seven innings, with one walk and five strikeouts. He's now allowed just three ER through his last 20 2/3 innings.
Astros starter Collin McHugh, for whom Houston had won 11 starts in a row, gave up three runs through seven innings; the Astros have now lost two of his last three starts.
Detroit only led 3-2 into the bottom of the eighth, then posted a field goal for insurance.
Lobstein is three-for-seven on quality starts this season. Three starts ago he held the White Sox to one unearned run through 7 2/3 innings; but just after that he gave up six runs in less than three innings against Minnesota; then Monday he held Milwaukee to three runs through 6 2/3 innings. On the season Lobstein has allowed 20 ER and 46 hits through 42 innings; Detroit is 3-4 in Lobstein's starts, with the totals tilting toward the UNDERS by a 5-2 margin.
Lobstein has never started against Houston.
McCullers, a 21-year-old righty and the 41st pick in the 2012 draft who skipped Triple-A ball, will make his second career ML appearance Saturday. Last Monday, in his ML debut, McCullers gave up one run and three hits through 4 2/3 innings against Oakland, although he needed 93 pitches to get those 14 outs. The Astros lost that game 2-1, but that wasn't his fault.
In three-plus seasons of Minor League ball McCullers went 12-16 with a 3.79 ERA; this spring, down at Double-A Corpus Christi, McCullers went 3-1 with a nifty 0.62 ERA, allowing just 15 hits in 29 innings, walking 11 while whiffing 43.
The word on McCullers is that he can bring some heat, with a nice yakker, to boot. However, he had some control problems last year down at Single-A ball, walking 56 in 97 innings, and he walked three A's Monday.
Saturday's Batting Splits
Houston ranks 21st in the Majors this season against left-handed pitching with a .709 team OPS.
Detroit ranks third against righties this season with a .760 OPS.
Game 3 Free Picks
For whatever reasons Detroit has been a much better team this season playing during the day rather than at night. So despite some qualms about Lobstein we like the Tigers today for our MLB pick. Also, seeing as neither lineup has faced today's starting pitchers before, we're thinking UNDER.