Expect Few Runs in Pitching Duel In Detroit

Rainman M.

Sunday, July 2, 2017 4:54 PM UTC

Sunday, Jul. 2, 2017 4:54 PM UTC

In a battle between youth and experience, Cleveland's starter Mike Clevinger and Detroit’s veteran ace Justin Verlander both search for consistency when they lead their teams against each other in Sunday’s series finale.

Cleveland Indians vs Detroit Tigers  

The Tigers and Indians meet on Sunday after playing a doubleheader on Saturday. They will soon grow even more familar with each other because on Friday they will begin another three-game series—this time in Cleveland. Cleveland batters are in fact already very familiar with Tigers’ veteran Justin Verlander. Cleveland’s lineup possesses a few left-handed or switch hitters who have enjoyed relative success against Verlander. Look out for Jose Ramirez, who is 9/23 (.391 BA) lifetime vs Verlander, with three doubles and a home run, and for Francisco Lindor, who is also 9/23 against Verlander, with a double, a triple and a home run. Tigers’ batters have yet to see Indians’ starter Clevinger this season.


Probable Pitchers

Detroit ace Justin Verlander (5-4 4.47 ERA) will see Cleveland for the third time this season. His first outing in Cleveland was a disaster in which he gave up three home runs. Three weeks later, however, he turned it around, giving up only two runs in seven innings. Because of the disparity between his two performances vs Cleveland, one wonders which Verlander we will see when he faces them a third time. Verlander is also struggling with his command. He is walking more batters because he is unable to effectively locate his pitches. So even if his pitches find the strike zone, they have been more hittable. Even though his overall numbers look rather gloomy, he seems to be turning things around, only his ERA isn’t showing it. His FIP, which is like ERA but factors luck, was 1.85 in his last outing vs Kansas City and an astonishing -0.22 the week before in Seattle. He has walked only two batters in his last two games overall and struck out 17. Despite the amount of hits that he has given up, and the high ERA, he is inducing soft contact at a higher rate than his season average.

The Indians counter with 26-year-old Mike Clevinger (3-3 3.56 ERA).  Clevinger is a finesse pitcher who relies on the location, movement and variety of his pitches. So there are a number of variables that contribute to the quality of poorness of his performance, which is why we’ve seen him flirt with a no-hitter against one of the best lineups in baseball in Houston, only to get shelled by Kansas City and Oakland in consecutive outings. But that one bad outing was sandwiched in between two good ones, in which he had confidence in the full repertoire of his pitches. He walked fewer batters and commanded the location of his pitches more effectively. Batters didn’t know so well what was coming and when they did, they dealt with pitches whose location and movement made them difficult to hit. So his FIP was 1.89 in Minnesota and 3.30 at home vs Texas.


The Verdict

Verlander’s command and stuff have been improving in recent weeks. I feel safe trusting this veteran ace. Clevinger has also shown his best and, like with any pitcher, we can only hope that has his stuff and is feeling confident in it. He seems to be developing confidence and consistency with two positive outings in his last three tries. I think a talented in-form pitcher with a lot of upside is worth backing on our MLB Picks.

Free MLB Picks: Under 5, 1h
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

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