MLB Picks: Tigers vs. Rangers Series Coverage

Willie Bee

Tuesday, June 24, 2014 12:30 PM GMT

The Tigers erupted late to score an 8-2 win over the Rangers on Tuesday. Can Texas stop a 6-game slide as underdogs on the MLB odds Wednesday night vs. Detroit?

 

26th June
Tigers vs. Rangers Game 3

By: Willie Bee

 

It was just a week ago that the Texas Rangers were treading water with a .500 record and hopeful they could turn their injury-plagued 2014 campaign around. At the same time last week, the Detroit Tigers were mired in a mini-slump and chasing the Kansas City Royals in the AL Central race.

My, how quickly things change. Detroit's 8-6 win Wednesday in Texas extended the Tigers' win streak to six and their division lead to 4-games over KC. Meanwhile, Texas suffered its 7th-straight loss to sit on the verge of a second consecutive series sweep. The two teams end their season schedules against each other Thursday night (8:05 PM ET) when Rick Porcello takes the mound for the Tigers opposite Nick Martinez.

SBR's live MLB odds favor Detroit's chances of completing the broom job with the Tigers in the -130 to -140 range. A big 10 run total awaits scoreboard bettors.

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Porcello & Martinez Meet Once Again
Porcello quietly ranks among the top pitchers in the ROI column, producing 6.1 units of profit in 14 starts, 10 of those going into the Tigers' win column. He's coming off six shutout innings in Cleveland last Friday, helping Detroit to its second straight win in a Porcello start after he and the club dropped the previous two assignments.

The 25-year-old was clobbered by the Rangers at Comerica Park a little more than a month ago, charged with eight runs (7 earned) and 12 hits during 5.1 innings. Porcello's efforts in five starts at the ballpark in Texas have been a mixed bag, a 3-2 record to go with a 4.22 ERA.

Martinez pitched well in Anaheim this past Saturday, tossing seven innings of 3-hit, 2-run baseball. But just like his previous three assignments, Texas lost the game in a 3-2 decision to the Angels. The rookie beat Porcello and the Tigers in Motown on May 24, working six frames and allowing one run to pick up his first MLB win.


Umpire Notes, Mother Nature & A Free Pick
One of the best MLB bets this season has been to play the 'under' when Clint Fagan calls balls and strikes. The Texas native owns a 3-13 O/U record heading into Thursday's series finale, including two 'unders' in Detroit games, one with Porcello on the mound. Top that off with visitors winning 12 of Fagan's 16 plate assignments, 3-1 as chalk.

After two games with some rain in the forecast, Thursday's contest appears free of any precip to interrupt the proceedings. Look for the thermometer to be in the low-to-mid 80s for the affair, plus a nice 12-16 mph SSE breeze, technically in from right-center but realistically creating a bit of a swirling effect inside the ballpark that could aid hitters.

I love the thought of more offense tonight, given the weather conditions and the series showing a strong tendency in that direction. But I can't resist riding the streaks both teams are on with another free MLB pick on the Motown 9.

MLB Pick: Tigers -130

Season: 73-74 (-0.90)

 

25th June
Tigers vs. Rangers Game 2

By: Willie Bee

 

Ian Kinsler lit the match last November when he was dealt from the Texas Rangers to the Detroit Tigers. Tuesday night, he went ahead and burned those bridges down.

Kinsler homered in his first bat back in Texas since the trade, then gave the Rangers bench a little parade wave as he started his home run trot to get under the skin of the fans and a few former teammates. He then capped a late Tigers explosion with a 2-run single in the eighth as Detroit took an 8-2 decision in the series opener.

The Tigers' 5th-straight victory was also Texas' 6th-straight loss, leaving the Rangers with the tall task of stopping both as underdogs on Wednesday. Anibal Sanchez is up next in the Detroit rotation with the Tigers listed around -150 on SBR's live MLB odds. Joe Saunders takes the hill for Texas shortly after ESPN2's cameras roll at 8 PM (ET), and a 9 run total leans slightly to the low side.

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Sanchez Aims To Atone For 2 Bad Starts In Texas
Detroit hopes to break a strange trend in starts by Sanchez this season when he climbs the mound Wednesday. The Tigers won his first two starts, lost the next three, won two, lost three and have now won his last two games. None of the losses can be directly pinned on Sanchez, however, as the 30-year-old has yet to allow more than three runs in a contest, and four of the six defeats came with him surrendering one run or less.

One of the wins was a strong effort at home vs. the Rangers on May 23, Sanchez tossing seven frames with five strikeouts and only two runs scoring. His only two assignments on this mound have been unmitigated disasters, however, Texas scoring 13 runs in his combine 6.1 innings of work.

This is Saunders' third consecutive start to be part of our free picks, the first a pretty good one in Seattle 11 days ago against a Mariners team he played for last year, the second last Friday in Anaheim vs. an Angels team he started his MLB career with, and it wasn't pretty (4.2 IP, 7 R). Saunders lost his only look at the Tigers in 2013, and as luck would have it, Kinsler (.333, 4 HR) is one of the toughest bats in their lineup he'll face.


Umpire Notes, Final Thoughts & A Free Pick
Todd Tichenor will be our plate umpire for this one, and brings a 9-4-1 (O/U/P) record into the affair. The Nebraska native has worked two Tigers road games in 2014 and both went 'over' the mark while home underdogs are 1-4 with Tichenor behind the dish.

There is a 30%-40% chance of a thunderstorm interrupting Game 2, and 100% chance of boos raining down on Kinsler all night long.  Streak surfing is how I'm going to go with my free baseball pick in Game 2, and I'm even going to knock off some of that Detroit chalk with a run line play.

MLB Pick: Tigers -1.5 (+115)

Season: 71-73 (-2.05)

 

24th June
Tigers vs. Rangers Game 1

By: Willie Bee

 

MLB futures odds when spring training opened suggested this week's series in Texas between the Rangers and Detroit Tigers might be a playoff preview. The Tigers were going off around +425 then to win the AL, with the Rangers not far behind at 8/1.

Detroit is certainly doing its part to make that happen with the 2nd-best record in the Junior Circuit currently and leading the AL Central, but a minor miracle is needed if Texas is going to play on in October. The Rangers are five games below .500 and 11.5 games out in the AL West as this series gets underway, and their prospects are bleak thanks to a long, long list of injuries.

Game 1 of the set has an 8:05 PM (ET) first pitch from Colby Lewis, Detroit countering with Drew Smyly. The Tigers officially opened as -130 chalk on the MLB betting board, but that number is now closer to -120 at most sports books, all of which agree on a 9.5 run total.

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Rangers Aim To Continue Recent Mastery Of Tigers
Detroit (40-32, -3.8 units, 38-30-4 O/U/P) brings a 4-game win streak to Arlington, the Tigers' second stop on a 9-game road trip that ends in Houston later this week. A sweep in Cleveland this past weekend helped Detroit open up a 2-game lead over the Kansas City Royals in the AL Central, and the good news for the Tigers is they won't have to face Rangers ace Yu Darvish this series, the 3rd-year hurler owning a perfect 5-0 record against the Motown Cats.

Texas (35-40, -4.5 units, 37-32-6 O/U/P) also isn't going to have to face Justin Verlander in this series, though the Rangers probably wish they were considering how the big righthander's numbers have fallen off. They are returning home from a 3-6 road trip through the AL West, losing the last five games of the journey following a broom job at the hands of the Angels in Anaheim last weekend.

This set in Arlington will end the regular season matchups between the Tigers and Rangers who met just about a month ago in Detroit. Texas won three of those contests while 'over' bettors swept the four game series.

Detroit owns a 351-302 advantage in this rivalry that dates to the Rangers playing as the second coming of the Washington Senators. Texas has been cutting into that gap the past few seasons, winning 14 of the last 21 matchups, seven of nine played in the Lone Star State where the 'over' is 3-1-1 the past five games on this field.


Texas Hitters Seem To Show Up When Lewis Pitches
While Verlander has been the victim of his own poor pitching, Smyly's 3-6 record is the result of some weak offensive support. The Arkansas southpaw owns the 2nd-lowest ERA among Detroit starters, yet the Tigers have won just three of his 11 assignments (-8.3 units) averaging under 3½ runs when Smyly pitches compared to a little more than 4½ on the season overall.

Smyly pitched a scoreless inning of relief against Texas when the clubs met in Detroit back in May, and Tuesday will be his third career start vs. the Rangers. His only starting assignment in Arlington came about two years ago, and it wasn't pretty (4.2 IP, 6 ER).

Lewis is climbing the hill for his 13th start of 2014, and though his ERA is approaching 6, the Rangers have won seven of the previous 12. The 34-year-old has only made it through six complete innings once so far, and allowed five runs or more in four of his last six outings. He survived five walks in Detroit on May 25 to pick up a 12-4 win as the Rangers battered Verlander and the Tigers.

Warm and muggy is Tuesday's forecast for the D-FW metroplex. Temps will still be in the low-to-mid 80s at first pitch, an 8-10 mph breeze from the northeast (left to right) shifting to the east (in from left) as the game progresses.

Detroit has been a pretty solid road team this year, and even though Smyly hasn't been that effective away from Motown, I'm making my free pick on the visitors in the series opener.

MLB Pick: Tigers -120

Season: 70-71 (-1.05)