MLB Picks: Take Verlander Hot at Home vs. Recently Ice Cold Cueto

Ross Benjamin

Friday, September 18, 2015 3:43 PM GMT

Our MLB consultant examines Friday’s game between the Royals and Tigers. Join us in reading this compelling betting preview article that concludes with a money line pick.

AL Central Series in Detroit
The Royals and Tigers will open a three game series on Friday. The first pitch at Comerica Park in Detroit is slated for 7:08 PM ET. When the 2015 MLB schedule was released, this September series between these AL Central rivals was anticipated to have serious playoff implications. That’s exactly why they play the games. Detroit enters today 18.5 games behind division leading Kansas City, and has been out of realistic playoff contention for quite awhile. Despite the disparity in records, Kansas is just 9-7 against Detroit in 2015, and the teams have split six game played at Comerica Park.

 

Starting Pitchers
Johnny Cueto will get the start on Friday for Kansas City. The Royals are hoping that Cueto can regain his dominating form he’s displayed for the better part of his career. Cueto has seemed to hit the proverbial wall recently. The hard throwing right-hander has a horrible 9.57 ERA, 1.97 WHIP, and allowed 8 home runs in 26 1/3 innings during his previous five starts. On a positive note, Cueto has been very good in three starts against Detroit this season, compiling a stellar 2.45 ERA and 0.91 WHIP in those outings.

Jason Verlander has been lights out in his last four starts at home. He had an excellent 1.29 ERA and 0.83 WHIP in those outings. The veteran Tigers hurler is 1-1 against Kansas City in 2015 with a 4.61 ERA and a 1.32 WHIP.  

 

Tale of the Tape
Barring an absolute disaster, Kansas City will win the AL Central by a sizable margin. At this point, their main focus has shifted to staving off the surging Toronto Blue Jays for the American League best overall record. Going into today, they hold a slim 2.0 game lead over Toronto, and both teams have 16 games left to play. One of the major strengths for Kansas City in 2015 has been their superb pitching. However, the Royals have allowed an average of 6.4 runs per game, and opponents have compiled a monster .899 OPS during their previous seven contests.

Needless to say, this has been a massively disappointing season for the Tigers. In spite of that being the case, Detroit has won three of their last four, and are a somewhat respectable 6-5 in their previous eleven. The Tigers possess a solid .285 team batting average and an outstanding .350 OBP during their last seven games.

 

Final Analysis
Until Johnny Cueto shows some sort of sign that he’s breaking free of his late season swoon, I have very little confidence in the Royals chances in any game he starts. Contrarily, I really admire the resiliency that Jason Verlander has shown after getting off to such a rough start in 2015. The current MLB odds speak volume with all being considered. I’m siding with the home team for one of my MLB picks on Friday. 

MLB Pick: Tigers -103 at 5Dimes