The Detroit makeover is a work in progress, giving up some offense with the hope of better defense to make another run at the World Series. In reviewing the futures betting odds for who is expected to win the American League, the Tigers are at the top presently at 4-1 and will have to continue to work out a few kinks as the season progresses.
Detroit’s not Perfect, but who is?
Everybody’s a critic in the social media world and the Tigers forums have fans dumping on leftfielder Rajai Davis, both shortstops and the entire bullpen.
Davis was picked up to be a platoon player and has been playing most every day because Andy Dirks has been injured. Detroit fans have witnessed eight games and need to chill; the postseason season doesn’t start until October for this team.
Alex Gonzalez or Andrew Romine was supposed to provide better defense and range compared to Jhonny Peralta at shortstop. To date, Gonzalez has been shaky in the field, with Romine clearly the better option. If you happen to be playing daily fantasy, neither of these would be an option with an on-base percentage well below .300. Chances are they both improve overall.
The bullpen has the attention of MLB baseball handicappers, being thoroughly ineffective. Closer Joe Nathan, Joba Chamberlain and Phil Coke all have double digit ERA’s, that’s not good.
Yet with all the whining, Austin Jackson and Nick Castellanos have been terrific, the starting pitching has been as good as advertised and Miguel Cabrera has not come close to going beast-mode, which everyone knows will happen.
San Diego Needs to Start Hitting
At this point, manager Bud Black would probably like to call Lumber Liquidators and see if they can ship lumber to a bat manufacturer. The Padres have the least productive offense in the big leagues at 2.6 runs a contest, which limits their potential as a “play on” team for those making MLB picks. (The Pads did score six last night however)
What is odd is San Diego actually has one starter (Everth Cabrera) and three part-timers (Nick Hundley, Yasmani Grandal and Alexi Amarista) batting over .300, but with a .226 team batting average and on-base percentage of .271, obviously this group is failing to score runs.
The Padres are never going to lead the National League in runs scored because the play at Petco Park (also referred to as the Grand Canyon), nonetheless, they could improve in other areas.
For example, if you are averaging nearly 10 strikeouts per game, possibly a little plate discipline would help. And you could place yourself in a more favorable position by showing more patience at the dish, instead of being among the leader in the National League in fewest walks.
Pitching Matchup for
It would seem the San Diego offense is not going to get real healthy having to face Justin Verlander (0-1, 2.57 ERA, 1.14 WHIP). The right-hander has only allowed a .208 batting average; however, has just five K’s to go along with five walks to start 2014 in 14 innings of work.
Ian Kennedy (1-1, 3.27, 0.91) will straddle the bump for the Friars. His second outing was much better than his first and he will be dependant on his curveball and change up to keep Tigers hitters’ off-balance.
As mentioned the Detroit pen has been abysmal with an ERA of 5.64 and two blown saves in four chances. They have surrendered 1.2 hits an inning, which at this time makes them a difficult choice with sports picks if a baseball bettor anticipates a close game heading into the later innings.
San Diego is much better and their relievers benefit greatly from the ballpark and they have a 2.89 ERA (0.82 at home) and are averaging nearly a strikeout per inning.
Head to Head Combat and Betting Odds
Prior to last night, these clubs haven't played since 2008. Detroit has won seven of the past 10 meetings.
The MLB odds for the middle matchup of the series have the Tigers down 10 cents to -145 with the total Un. 6.5
Winner Is…..San Diego
This hardly makes sense, but Verlander and teammates are 3-11 playing against a team with a losing record the last two seasons. In addition, off their 6-0 whitewashing of Detroit, the Padres are 12-5 after a shutout victory.
MLB Free Pick: San Diego on the money line