A Chance At Vindication
The 2013 MLB season has been very disappointing for Tigers starter Justin Verlander (13-12, 3.46). At the beginning of the season, Verlander was thought of as one of the best pitchers in the majors. For any other pitcher, 3.46 would be a good ERA, but Verlander has been weeding himself through a lot of rough situations this year by getting off to poor starts. If not for a strong Tigers offense led by the meat of the order in Torii Hunter, Miguel Cabrera, and Prince Fielder, Verlander might very well be a sub-.500 pitcher.
Thanks to 3 -1st inning runs and a Max Scherzer 3-2 defeat of the A’s in game 1, Verlander finds himself in a chance to just about slam the door on the Athletics as this series would go to Comerica Park after game 2. The Tigers possess the best batting average in the regular season in the majors (.283), are 2nd in runs, and 2nd in on-base percentage (.346). This is a major opportunity for Verlander to turn around his season and put the Atheltics in a difficult position.
Miguel Cabrera has never been the same player since his injuries towards the end of the season and the Tigers have the proper balance in hitting and pitching to carry the former Triple Crown winner.
The A’s have a very hard hitting offense, but will need to step it up in game 2. They were outhit 10-3 in game 1 and the 2013 Home Run Derby winner ,Yoenis Cespedes, was a one man show. Cespedes was 2 for 4 with a triple and a home run to basically account for all of Oakland’s offense. Cespedes isn’t a hitter that hits for average, but has come up with some clutch hits this season. With Sonny Gray (5-3, 2.67) starting for the Athletics , team leaders such as Coco Crisp and Josh Donaldson will need to get their bats going or this series will be over very quick; the A’s can’t go to Comerica Park down 2-0.
Free Pick-Detroit Tigers -126 at Bet 365
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The Best Team In the Majors
This past couple of weeks, the Tampa Bay Rays have treated every game as if it were a wild card game and have been very successful. They sent a disappointed Cleveland team packing after Cleveland had won 10 games straight and their confidence level was sky high coming into this divisional series with Boston.
Boston on the other hand has been coasting into the playoffs with some huge offensive outbursts while embarrassing their opponents at the same time. They’re the total package with team oriented players, good starting pitching and a top notch closer in Koji Uehara. I must admit, after hearing the surprise in the tone of the radio announcers voice in the car when the Rays were out to a 2-0 lead in game 1 of this ALDS, I thought that he jumped the gun. Sure enough, he did as the Sox proceeded to score 8 runs in the 4th and 5th inning combined and the next 12 runs overall. Boston has been the best team in baseball all season and their offense knows no boundaries; this team is never out of a game when trailing.
Every Red Sox starter got a hit in their defeat of the Rays led by the clutch hitting of Shane Victorino and Jarrod Saltalamacchia. From Pedroia to Middlebrooks, Boston has no weak spots in their lineup.
Price vs. Lackey
Tampa Bay’s only hope to make this a series rests on the arm of starter David Price (10-8, 3.33). Although Boston starter, John Lackey has had a spectacular season, he’s had lapses and this is the type of pitcher that can go south when a team touches him up. Tampa Bay has very capable hitting led by Evan Longoria and James Loney and I would take Price in a big game over Lackey anytime.
Although I prefer David Price to John Lackey, the Boston Red Sox have been unstoppable all season long and aren’t going to lose their home field advantage in a game like this after coming off of a 12-2 defeat of the Rays. Take Boston as a surprising underdog at home for our MLB pick.
Free Pick- Boston Red Sox +104 at Bet 365
Good luck, everyone!