Tigers vs. Orioles Game 3
By: Willie Bee
It took a while for Detroit hitters to come to the party Tuesday night in Baltimore. But once they did arrive, the Tigers crashed the scene with a big ninth inning to leave them a win away from sweeping the Orioles.
An afternoon contest is how this series finishes up, and we're looking at a huge mismatch on the mound -- at least by name recognition -- for the 12:35 PM (ET) start at Camden Yards. Former AL Cy Young and MVP winner Justin Verlander is next in the Detroit rotation, while Baltimore is calling up Kevin Gausman from the minors to make his first start of the 2014 campaign.
The late change on the mound for the Orioles means baseball bettors will have to wait until later this morning to catch the lines, which should overwhelmingly favor the Tigers. SBR's live baseball odds will have the numbers just as soon as they're released.
Tigers Perfect In Baltimore With Verlander
Though he pitched well his last time out, Verlander saw his 4-game win streak -- and the club's 5-straight wins in his starts -- come to an end with a 2-1 loss vs. Minnesota. The righthander has gone seven innings each of his last four assignments, and failed to allow more than three runs in any of his eight trips to the hill.
Last Friday's defeat also marked the second time this season Verlander had given up just two runs while his offense managed to plate but one. The other was April 6 at home vs. these Orioles, a 3-1 loss in the only game that series Baltimore won. Detroit is a perfect 7-0 when Verlander pitches at Camden Yards, his ERA at 2.29 over those 51 innings.
Gausman is making his season debut as manager Buck Showalter mixes up his rotation. Wei-Yin Chen was originally in line for the Orioles on Wednesday, but Showalter is giving the ball to Gausman instead. The righthander out of LSU was one of the last players sent down to the minors at the end of spring training, and spent the past couple of weeks battling a case of pneumonia.
He had a 2.08 ERA in six Triple-A starts this season, and saw the Tigers once a year ago, tossing six innings of 5-hit, 1-run baseball in a 4-2 O's victory.
Umpire Notes, Mother
Nature & A Free Pick
John Tumpane is in his first full season with an MLB umpiring crew and calling his first game at Oriole Park, having never even worked the field in any game involving the O's. Home 'dogs are 1-2 with him behind the plate this season, the totals running 4-3-2 (O/U/P).
Cloudy and humid with a high just scratching into the 80s is what the weatherman is calling for this afternoon in Charm City. It's hard not to like Verlander to deliver the sweeping blow, and I'll be keeping an eye on the run line when it comes out.
My pick: Lean Detroit on run line
Season: 38-37 (+0.4)
Tigers vs. Orioles Game 2
By: Willie Bee
The Tigers made the most of their five hits in a 4-1 victory Monday over the Baltimore Orioles, who were stymied by Rick Porcello and the Detroit bullpen with only six hits of their own.
Now it's up to Ubaldo Jimenez to stop the Orioles losing streak at two when the clubs come back together Tuesday in a 7:05 PM (ET) start. Jimenez will be opposed by Detroit's Drew Smyly, and the Tigers have swung from small road pups to slight road chalk following overnight action on the MLB odds.
An 8.5 run total awaits scoreboard bettors, the 'over' priced a bit higher.
Jimenez In Search Of
Smyly's season started with six scoreless innings out of the 'pen, earning the dubya in one of those appearances and a hold in another Tigers victory. But Detroit has since been victorious in just one of his three starting assignments, the most recent setback last Thursday in the series-ender vs. the Astros.
One of the early relief outings came against the Orioles in Game 1 of their series in Detroit. Smyly has pitched at Camden Yards only once previously, logging two scoreless frames in relief last June during a 10-3 Tigers win.
His Baltimore career started with the Orioles losing his first five starts, Jimenez posting a 6.59 ERA in those assignments. He has since chopped close to a run off that ERA with two consecutive victories, both on the road in Minnesota and Tampa Bay where the righty combined to pitch 12.2 innings with only one run coming plateward.
Tuesday will be Jimenez's 17th career start vs. Detroit, the Indians and Rockies combining to go 7-9 in the previous 16, his ERA a bloated 5.31 in those appearances. Victor Martinez and Miguel Cabrera are a combined 21-for-62 (.339) with four homers, V-Mart owning three of those clouts.
Umpire Notes, Mother Nature & A Free Pick
Will there be any carryover from last night when Bud Norris was ejected for plunking Torii Hunter in the eighth? Any inside pitch could lead to warnings for both teams from Game 2's plate ump Bob Davidson (1-5-2 O/U/P), and that could affect the contest.
Monday's first pitch was delayed about half an hour due to rain, and Tuesday's could experience the same fate with a 50%-60% chance of late-afternoon, early-evening showers. Expect a slight east breeze (right to left) and temps in the upper-70s.
Ian Kinsler was the offensive star for Detroit on Monday, and I'm looking for him to get more help from his teammates Tuesday against Jimenez. Let's run with the Motown Cats once again for our free MLB pick.
My pick: Tigers -110
Season: 36-37 (-1.5)
Tigers vs. Orioles Game 1
By: Willie Bee
Six weeks into the 2014 schedule, the Detroit Tigers and Baltimore Orioles are each sitting atop their respective divisions as they prepare to begin a 3-game set in Charm City.
The second and final regular season meeting between the two clubs begins with a pitching rematch from opening week in Motown as Rick Porcello is on tap for the Tigers opposite the O's Bud Norris. First pitch at Oriole Park is slated for 7:05 PM (ET), and Detroit is showing up as small chalk on SBR's live baseball odds where we also find a 9 run total that favors the low side.
Those three games in Detroit earlier brought the number to 2,000 matchups in this rivalry dating to 1901. Detroit holds a 1042-947 all-time advantage, 11 more games ending tied when suspended due to darkness in the old days or rain more recently. A big chunk of the Tigers' lead in the series was built from the 1930s through the 1950s when the O's, mostly playing as the St. Louis Browns during those decades, had but four winning seasons in a 30-year stretch.
The tide has turned in the last 20 years or so, with the Orioles winning 112 of the last 200 contests vs. Detroit, and standing 58-39 (.591) in Baltimore since Camden Yards opened in 1992. The Tigers took two of three at home in April to stop a 3-series win streak by the O's. Seven of the last 10 played at Oriole Park jumped the total, with one of the other three pushing a 9-run scoreboard hurdle.
Tigers Begin 9-Game
Roadie With Stop In Baltimore
Detroit (21-12, +2.7 units, 15-16-2 O/U/P) just closed out a winning homestand that was a disappointment after losing three of the final four games. The Tigers began things by taking the first three from Houston to run their win streak to eight, but the Astros triumphed in the finale of that series before Detroit dropped two of three to the Twins over the weekend.
Porcello and Norris hooked up in the middle game of the set in Detroit back in April, and it was the Tigers starter who had the better showing. Norris took the loss, allowing five runs in his five innings, while Porcello got the dubya by working into the seventh having surrendered just three hits and a run. Detroit relievers made the contest exciting before Joe Nathan came on to close out the 7-6 decision.
His next assignment went into the loss column for the Tigers, but Porcello has since reeled off four consecutive victories, two of those coming on the road. He dropped his one and only start at Oriole Park last season, things coming unraveled in the seventh after six scoreless frames to begin that contest, a 4-2 Baltimore victory.
Birds See 5-Game Win Streak End Sunday
Baltimore (20-15, +6.1 units, 15-19-1 O/U/P) came home last Friday after sweeping the Rays in Tampa Bay, and took the first two games of a weekend set from the Astros to run its win streak to five. That stretch ended Sunday in a 5-2 loss to Houston, and the Orioles will look to begin a new streak against Detroit before heading out to face Kansas City and Pittsburgh.
Norris is facing his old team for the second time, the first coming in his initial start for Baltimore after being traded from Houston last July. The former Cal Poly star went six innings in that outing, the only two runs coming plateward on solo homers by Brett Wallace and Marc Krauss, and struck out eight.
Baltimore has won Norris' last three starts to leave the O's 4-2 when the beefy righty has been on the hill in 2014. He hasn't made it through the sixth in either of the his previous two assignments, running into control issues last week at Tampa Bay to run his pitch count up and leaving with the score knotted 2-2 before the Birds came through for a 4-3 triumph.
Rain could interrupt a game this week in Baltimore where there is a 40% chance of wet stuff Monday followed by a 60% on Tuesday. Most of the showers are projected to occur in the late-afternoon, but some could carry over to the early evening and delay the first two contests.
Detroit's bullpen is scary, but I like the way Porcello is pitching right now and that's why the road team in this matchup will be added to my free MLB picks for Monday.
My Pick: Tigers -110
Season: 34-37 (-3.9)