MLB Picks: Rangers vs. Tigers Series Coverage

Darin Zank

Wednesday, May 21, 2014 5:44 PM GMT

Texas has blown out Detroit twice in this series, including a 12-2 romp Saturday. Can the injury-depleted Rangers pull off a series victory when the teams meet for Game 4 Sunday (1:05 pm ET)? Or should we go with the Tigers to bounce back for today's free MLB pick?
25th May
Rangers vs. Tigers Game 4

By: Ron Patrick

 

Sunday's Line
In the very early betting Detroit and Justin Verlander were chalked at around -190 over Texas and Colby Lewis, with a total of 8.5 runs. The Tigers could also be found at around +120 on the run line.

 
Saturday's Re-Hash
The Rangers jumped on Detroit starter Rick Porcello Saturday for eight runs through six innings, winning outright as +155 dogs on the MLB betting board. Texas rapped out 19 hits, including eight for extra bases.

The first three games in this series have all played 'over' the totals, and Detroit has played six 'overs' in a row.

 
Sunday's Starters
Verlander (5-3, 3.55) is seven-for-10 on quality starts this season, but 0 for his last two. Last time out he got nailed for five runs and 11 hits in six innings against Cleveland, and just before that he gave up five runs in six innings against Baltimore. But prior to those two outings Verlander had strung together four QS in a row.

On the season Big V has allowed 67 hits in 66 innings, walked 27, which is a bit too many, and only struck out 49. Detroit is 7-3 in Verlander's starts, with the totals going 6-3.

Verlander started twice against Texas last year; first, he gave up eight runs in less than three innings, then he threw seven innings of one-hit, shutout ball. The Tigers split those two games.

Lewis (3-3, 5.40) is 0-for-seven on quality starts this year. He's had a couple decent outings, without throwing six innings, and he's been bombed a couple times.

Recently Lewis has been going Jekyll-and-Hyde; a while back he strung together three OK outings in a row, allowing six runs over 16 innings. But then Colorado got him for seven runs in less than four innings. He then threw 5 2/3 scoreless innings against Houston, but followed that up by giving up five runs in six innings against Seattle Tuesday night.

On the season Lewis has allowed 54 hits in 36 2/3 innings, walked 10 and struck out 35. Texas is 4-3 in Lewis' starts this year, with the totals leaning toward the 'unders' 4-2.

This will be Lewis' first start against Detroit since April of 2012, when he held the Tigers to two runs through seven innings of a 3-2 Rangers' victory.

 
Injury Update
Texas is already the most injury-plagued team in the Majors, and now might be without lead-off hitter Shin-Soo Choo, who had to leave Saturday’s game with a sore ankle. His status for Sunday is uncertain.

Free MLB  Pick for Sunday: Verlander is coming off two rough outings in a row, but we expect a bounce-back effort Sunday. So we're leaning toward Detroit. And since we like to search for better pricing, we'll take a chance and go with the Tigers on the run line, at the +120 offered at Bet365, for our free MLB pick on Sunday's game.

[gameodds]3/287280/?r-1=43-19-349/us[/gameodds]



24th May
Rangers vs. Tigers Game 3

By: Ron Patrick

 

Saturday's Line
In the early betting, Detroit and Rick Porcello were chalked at around -175 over Texas and rookie righty Nick Martinez, with a total of nine runs. The Tigers could also be gotten at around +110 on the run line.
 

Friday Re-Hash
After getting blown out 9-2 in Thursday's series opener, Detroit then spotted Texas two runs in the top of the second inning Friday night. The Tigers then scored in five of the next six innings to take the lead, and pull away. Detroit won as a -175 favorite on Friday's MLB betting line, and to our delight covered on the run line at a price of +120.

Friday's game also played 'over' its total of 8.5 when the Tigers pushed across the final run of the game in the bottom of the seventh. Detroit has now played five 'overs' in a row.

The Tigers got a quality start from Anibal Sanchez Friday, and rapped out 10 hits, five for extra bases.

Texas is now 3-3, since losing Prince Fielder.
 

Saturday's Starters
Porcello (7-1, 2.91) is off to the best start of his ML career. He's six-for-eight on quality starts, and four for his last four. Last time out, he held Boston to one run through eight innings, and over his last four starts he's given up six ER through 27 2/3 innings. On the season, Porcello has allowed 46 hits in 52 2/3 innings, walked just seven and struck out 33.

Detroit is 7-1 in Porcello's starts, with the totals leaning toward the 'unders' 5-3.

Porcello started once against Texas last year, giving up one run and five hits in 5 2/3 innings of a 2-1 Tigers victory. Porcello was supposed to start Thursday, but because of some upper-body soreness he's been pushed back to Saturday.

Martinez (0-1, 2.28) will be making his fourth start of this season, to go along with four appearances in relief. Pressed into starting duty because of injuries to the Rangers rotation, Martinez had a chance to win his most recent start, holding Toronto to one run through five innings last Sunday, but the bullpen blew a lead after he left.

On the season Martinez has allowed 25 hits in 27 2/3 innings, but his K/BB ratio is just 16/14. Texas is 2-1 in Martinez' starts, with the totals going 2-1.

This will be Martinez' first-ever start against the Tigers.

Free MLB Pick for Saturday: We had good luck with Detroit on the run line Friday night, and we're thinking along the same line for Saturday. So we'll go with the Tigers, minus the run and a half at the +112 offered at Pinnacle, for Saturday's free MLB pick.

[gameodds]3/287409/?r-1=43-19-349/us[/gameodds]



23rd May
Rangers vs. Tigers Game 2

By: Ron Patrick

 

Friday's Line
In the early betting on Friday's contest the Tigers and Anibal Sanchez were favored by around -170 over Texas and Scott Baker, with a total of eight runs. Detroit could also be gotten at around +115 giving the run and a half on the run line.

[gameodds]3/282237/?r-1=43-19-349/us[/gameodds]

Friday's Starters
Sanchez (1-2, 2.89) will be making his second start since coming off the DL (blisters). In his last outing last Sunday against Boston he gave up one earned run in five innings of a 6-2 Detroit victory. 

On the season Sanchez has allowed 20 hits in 28 innings, walked 14 and whiffed 27. The Tigers are 3-3 in Sanchez' starts, with the totals going 2-3.

Sanchez started once against Texas last year, giving up five ER and nine hits in less than three innings of a 7-2 Detroit loss. But he'll face a little different Rangers lineup Friday night.

Baker (0-0, 3.38) will be making his first start of this season for Texas. In his season debut, a relief appearance two weeks ago against a tough Colorado lineup, Baker gave up two runs and four hits in 5 1/3 innings of a game the Rangers eventually lost 9-2.

Last year Baker pitched in three games for the Cubs; he missed all of 2012 after having elbow surgery. He earned a shot with Texas after going 4-1 with a 3.32 ERA at Triple-A Round Rock earlier this spring.

This will be Baker's first start against Detroit since 2011, when he was with Minnesota.

Take a look at some of the top MLB World Series Betting Lines

Injury Update
As if Texas hasn't had enough problems, now they find out Prince Fielder is likely to miss the rest of the season with a neck problem. The Rangers are the most banged-up team in the Majors, with more than a dozen guys on the DL.

 
Free Pick for Friday
Texas jumped all over Detroit rookie Robbie Ray Thursday, but Sanchez isn't Robbie Ray. So we're leaning toward the Tigers. And since we like to gamble, we'll take Detroit on the run line, getting +121 at Pinnacle, for our free MLB pick on Friday's game.

 

22nd May
Rangers vs. Tigers Game 1

By: Ron Patrick

 

Rangers-Tigers Odds
As of this writing Thursday's series opener, which matched Detroit rookie Robbie Ray against Texas' Yu Darvish, had not yet been lined. Considering the situation and the opponent, this might be the best price bettors find on Darvish all season.

[gameodds]3/287956/?r-1=43-19-349/us[/gameodds]

Series Set-Up
Detroit lost the first two games of it's current three-game series in Cleveland, but had won six games in a row coming in. The Tigers had also won five of their previous six series, helping them begin to pull away in their divisional race.

Going into the series finale against the Indians Wednesday Detroit, at 27-14, led the AL Central by six games over second-place Minnesota.

Besieged by injuries, Texas has lost four of its last five series, and 10 of its last 14 games. Over the weekend the Rangers dropped two of three games at home to Toronto, and they lost the opener of a quick two-game set with Seattle Tuesday 6-2.

Heading into Wednesday's game against the Mariners Texas, at 21-24, sat in fourth place in the AL West, eight games back of first-place Oakland.

This is the first encounter between these two teams this season. Last year Texas took four of seven games from Detroit, with the totals tilting toward the 'unders' by a 4-2-1 margin.


Thursday's Pitching Match-Up
Ray (1-0, 0.75), a lefty, will be making his third career ML start Thursday. In his ML debut two weeks ago against Houston he gave up a run in 5 1/3 innings, and in his second start 10 days ago against Minnesota he threw six shutout innings.

Including a short relief appearance Sunday at Boston Ray has pitched 12 innings this year, allowing one run and 10 hits, walking two while striking out eight. Detroit split his two starts.

Darvish (3-2, 2.32), by our tough standards, is five-for-eight on quality starts this year, and two for his last three. Last time out he gave up just two runs in eight innings against Toronto, and over his last three starts he's allowed five runs in 23 innings, with 32 strikeouts.

On the season Darvish has allowed only 43 hits in 54 1/3 innings, walked 16 and whiffed 65. Texas is 6-2 in Darvish's starts, with the totals leaning toward the 'unders' 5-2.

In four career starts against Detroit Darvish has given up 12 ER and 19 hits in 28 innings; Texas has won all four of those games, and thanks to some great run support all four games played 'over' the totals.

In the comparison of the bullpens for this series Detroit ranks 21st with a 4.17 ERA but is 13/17 on save opportunities, while Texas ranks 27th with a 4.37 ERA and is 8/14 on save opps.


With the Sticks
Texas ranks 21st in scoring at 3.9 runs per game, 11th in team OBP at .325, 22nd in slugging at .374 and just 28th in homers with 28.  

Detroit ranks sixth in scoring at 4.8 RPG, seventh in OBP at .328, third in slugging at .431 and somewhat surprisingly second in steals with 37.


Rangers-Tigers Betting Trends
Texas has played six 'unders' in its last eight games. 

The totals have leaned toward the 'unders' this season in games played at Comerica by an 11-9 margin.

Detroit is 17-12 against right-handed starters this season, while the Rangers are 7-9 against lefties.


Injury Update
Not only is Texas without several guys who should be on the pitching staff – Perez, Harrison, Holland, Scheppers – and a couple guys who should be in the everyday lineup, now Prince Fielder has missed recent action with a sore neck, and his status for this series is uncertain.

 
Free Pick for Thursday
If Darvish is his usual self, and can go well enough to keep the Rangers bullpen from entering the game, and if Ray can do the same against a cool Texas lineup, Thursday's series opener should be a low-scoring affair. So we'll go with the 'under', as long as it's more than seven runs, for our free pick on Thursday's contest.