Fade Public's Perception & Pick 'Under' as Rangers-Tigers Collide

Mark Lathrop

Thursday, August 20, 2015 11:39 AM GMT

With the public expecting an offensive explosion in Detroit, our MLB handicapper analyzes the pitching matchup to see where the true value lies and makes his Thursday MLB Pick.

Two teams coming off of fine offensive performances meet on Thursday night, as the Detroit Tigers host the Texas Rangers in this clash between 3rd place teams in the AL Central and West. Even though their place in the division standings is the same for each team, only one has a real chance at winning their respective division, as Detroit is 15 games back of the Kansas City Royals in the AL Central with their 58-61 record. Texas only finds themselves four games back of Houston in the AL West with a 61-58 record, but have the Angels in front of them in second place. With the overbalanced division schedule in September, anything could happen.

The odds in the game portray an even pitching matchup, as the Tigers opened at -105 at Pinnacle while the Rangers could be scooped up at -103 at the same time. This line has since shifted a little to Detroit at -110, but still relatively a pick’em matchup on the money line here. The O/U total is sitting at 9 at multiple books. That high total is not surprising given that Detroit has scored 25 runs in their last two games. That was in Chicago however, and Detroit’s weather won’t be as friendly to the flying orb with temperatures expected in the mid-60’s F by game time.

Pitching for the home team Tigers is Alfredo Simon. Simon was a little walky-tonk in his last game out against the Astros, as he gave up 4 free passes on the way to a 1-5 loss. That game broke a streak of four that Detroit had won Alfredo Simon starts even though he hadn’t received the winning decision in all of them. That’s because the Detroit offense won those games by averaging 6.5 runs a piece. That offense has been hiding a putrid stretch of pitching by Simon, and belies his 10-7 record. In his last 10 games started, Simon has had just one start where he gave up less than 4 ER. In that span, his ERA has ballooned to a 4.84 from a 3.29. His other stats have been underwhelming as well, as Simon has posted a 1.46 WHIP, 86/47 K/BB rate, and .277 BAA. Supposedly, Simon has been dealing with a groin injury for part of this stretch, but if it were too serious they wouldn’t let him pitch.

Going for the Rangers tonight is Martin Perez, fresh off of Tommy John surgery last year. Perez is a ground ball specialist and it shows in his minimal HR rates. As in zero HR’s allowed yet over his 32.1 IP this year. He must pitch to contact to get those ground balls though as in four of his six games started this year he has two strikeouts or less. Perez must also have been on the receiving end of some poor defense, which is odd for Texas. This shows in his fielding independent pitching (FIP) state of 2.98, compared to his traditional ERA that sits at 5.29! His BABIP also sits at an unsustainable .345. Can you say ‘seeing eye grounders’?

The MLB Pick: I like the prospects of Perez pitching well in this spot against the Tigers. Heavy air, heavy balls, and lots of grounders are in store tonight for Detroit.  Also, Simon has a chance to not be a total disaster if he can keep his walks in check. I think the recent form of each team has inflated this O/U total to were there is some value on the under. Detroit was hitting in hot, windy, Chicago, and Texas just got done abusing the awful Mariners bullpen. With 97% consensus on the over, this line could even reach 9.5 by game time. I’d wait for that line move and then pounce on it. Take the under near game time in Detroit as your Thursday MLB Pick.

MLB Pick: Under at Pinnacle