Mariners' Bullpen Gives Them Edge vs. Tigers In Friday MLB

Ross Benjamin

Thursday, August 14, 2014 9:31 PM GMT

Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014 9:31 PM GMT

The Mariners and Tigers begin a key series tonight that has American League playoff implications. Read what our MLB betting odds expert has to say about the opening game of this series and get his free pick as well.

AL Battle With Playoff Implications
The Tigers will host the Mariners tonight at Comerica Park in Detroit with the first pitch slated for 7:05 PM ET. According to current MLB betting odds the Tigers are a -130 money line home favorite and the posted total is 8.0. These teams have seen just 1 of their last 9 meetings at Comerica Park stay under the total.

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The Starting Pitchers
The Mariners will send 25-year old southpaw James Paxton to the mound tonight. Paxton has been terrific in 4-starts for the Mariners this season going 3-1 against the money line with a 2.38 ERA, a 0.93 WHIP, and a better than 4:1 strikeout to walk ratio. The Seattle hurler began the season on the 60-day disabled list due to back problems. In his 2-starts since returning from the DL he’s been relatively sharp in posting a 2.53 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP. Paxton was also very impressive when called up to the Mariners last September. In 4-starts he compiled an excellent 1.50 ERA, a 0.92 WHIP, and went 3-1 against the money.

The Tigers will counter with right-hander Rick Porcello. The Tigers veteran right-hander missed his last scheduled start in the rotation. He was forced into an emergency relief role during last Sunday’s 19-inning marathon defeat at Toronto. He went 2.0 innings, threw 36-pitches in that and sustained the loss. Prior to that relief stint, Porcello had displayed superb form in his previous 3-starts, posting a 1.23 ERA, and a better than 10:1 strikeout to walk ratio. Porcello has exhibited impeccable control over his last 7-starts, walking just 6 in 50 2/3 innings of work, or just 1 per 8.4 innings pitched.

 

Mariners Off An Outstanding Home Stand
Seattle just completed a 9-game in 9-day home stand on Wednesday that saw them go 8-1, and outscore the opposition by a cumulative score of 52-17 in those contests. The Mariners pitching has been nothing short of sensational over the past 3-weeks. They’ve allowed 3-runs or less in each of their last 12-games and 17 of the last 18. This is a ball club that’s also been a money maker on the road going 31-23 in 2014. If the season were to end today, the Mariners would qualify for the playoffs as the 2nd wild card team in the American League. They currently hold a slim ½ game lead over tonight’s opponent (Detroit) for the final wild card spot.

 

Tigers Have Lost Their Bite Lately
The Tigers have gone from looking like a virtual lock to win the AL Central, to not being in the playoffs at the time of this writing. Since July 13th, Detroit has gone a poor 11-17. During that exact same time frame, the Kansas City Royals went 18-8, and in the Process of doing so went from 7.5 games down in the standings, catapulted themselves into the AL Central lead. The Tigers should have no excuses coming down the stretch with a powerful lineup, and an excellent starting rotation. Even with the health status of Jason Verlander being in jeopardy, they still have David Price, Max Scherzer, Annibal Sanchez, and Rick Porcello. That’s a quite formidable foursome that most teams in baseball would love to have. It’s not like Verlander was having a stellar year anyways, and his shoulder injury isn’t being deemed to be season ending.

 

Final Analysis
I like the way both of these starting pitchers have looked in recent starts. The Mariners have a huge edge over the Tigers when it comes to each team’s bullpen, and that can ultimately make the difference in what otherwise looks to be a very close call. I’m going to go with the hotter team right now, who had a day off on Thursday, and has been very good on the road this season.

Free MLB Pick: Mariners +120 over the Tigers at Pinnacle Sports.

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