Thursday Game Three
By: Ron Patrick
Detroit got this series to even with a 7-1 victory Wednesday night, getting all its runs in the seventh and eighth innings to overcome a 1-0 deficit. Tigers starter Anibal Sanchez fashioned another quality start, but reliever Drew Smyly got the win to bump his record on the season to 5-0.
Detroit won Tuesday as -260 post-time favorites on the MLB betting line, and to our delight also covered on the run line.
So, the Tigers and Twins will play a series rubber match Thursday afternoon (1:05 pm ET).
Thursday's Betting Lines
As of early Thursday AM most sportsbooks were listing Detroit and Justin Verlander at around -250 over Minnesota and rookie Andrew Albers, with a total of eight. The Tigers could also be bet at around -120 on the run line.
Thursday's Pitching Match-Up
Verlander (12-9, 3.51) is 16-for-26 on quality starts this season, and three for his last four. Last time out he held the Royals to two runs through eight innings, and over his last four starts he's allowed eight ER in 29 innings.
On the season Verlander has given up 164 hits in 166 2/3 innings, walked 59 and struck out 160.
But Detroit is only 13-13 in Verlander's starts this year. And considering the Tigers are always such big favorites when he starts, Verlander ranks right near the bottom on the MLB pitchers' money chart.
In two starts previously this year against Minnesota Verlander allowed one ER and nine hits in 12 innings, with four walks and 15 whiffs; Detroit won both those games.
Rookie Albers (2-1, 1.85), a lefty, will be making his fourth career MLB start; so far he's two for three on quality outings. In his ML debut, two weeks ago against Kansas City, Albers threw 8 1/3 innings of four-hit, shut-out ball; in his second start he threw a two-hit, complete-game shut-out against Cleveland; but in his last outing the White Sox got to him for five runs and eight hits in seven innings.
So, overall Albers has allowed five runs and 14 hits in 24 1/3 innings, walked two and struck out seven.
Minnesota has won two of his three starts.
Obviously, this will be Albers' first-ever start against Detroit.
Albers earned his call-up by going 11-5 with a 2.86 ERA at AAA Rochester earlier this summer.
Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera, who's dealing with a couple of ailments at the moment, played Wednesday and drove in three runs with a bases-loaded double that broke the game open. But we wonder if he won't get Thursday's day game off. Bettors might want to check the lineup card before the game to see if Cabrera is on it.
Our Take on Thursday's Game
Detroit seems an obvious choice for today's game, with a big bad Cy Young award winner going against a rookie. But Verlander hasn't been his usual self this season, while Albers looked very good in his first two starts, albeit against the Royals and Indians. So this might be a little tougher pick than first glance might indicate. With Cabrera in the lineup we'll go with a run-line bet on the Tigers for our free MLB picks for today. But if he's not, we'd be very tempted to take the Twinkies at the big underdog price.
Wednesday Game Two
By: Ron Patrick
Minnesota grabbed Game 1 of this series with a 6-3 victory Tuesday night, putting up three runs in the fourth inning and a couple more in the fifth on Detroit starter Rick Porcello. The Twinkies also got a surprisingly good 6 2/3 innings from their own starter, Mike Pelfrey.
The Twins, to our dismay, won as +180 underdogs Tuesday, and the game PUSHED on its total of nine.
The Tigers, who rank second in the Majors in hitting .285 with runners in scoring position, went 1-for-9 with RISP Tuesday night.
So Minnesota, which was getting 3/1 odds to win this series, has a chance to do just that when the teams meet for Game 2 of this series Wednesday night (7:05 pm ET).
Wednesday's Betting Odds
Most online baseball betting shops opened Detroit and Anibal Sanchez at around -240 over Minnesota and Kevin Correia, with a total of 8.5. Most shops then also bumped the Tigers to the -255 range.
Detroit could also be played on the run line at MLB odds of -115.
Wednesday's Pitching Match-Up
Sanchez (11-7, 2.50) is having a fine first full season with the Tigers. He's 14-for-21 on quality starts this year, and working on a string of six in a row. Last time out he limited Kansas City to one run through seven innings, and over his last six outings he's allowed just seven ER through 41 innings.
On the season Sanchez has permitted 111 hits in 133 innings, walked 39 and whiffed 144.
Detroit actually lost nine of Sanchez' first 16 starts this season, but has won his last five in a row.
Sanchez has already started four times against Minnesota this season, giving up just five ER and 13 hits in 23 1/3 innings; among those outings was a complete-game, one-hit shut-out he threw back on May 24. But somehow the Tigers lost those other three starts.
Sanchez also owns a 1.98 ERA in nine starts at home this year.
Kevin Correia (8-9, 4.61) is 10-for-24 on quality starts this year, and lately has been running hot-and-cold. Back on July 20 he held Cleveland to two runs through six innings; then he gave up six runs in less than two innings against Seattle; then he held the Royals to two runs through six innings; then he gave up six runs in two innings against those same Royals; then he threw seven shut-out innings against the White Sox, but last time out, against those same Sox, he allowed five runs (four earned) in 7 1/3 innings. So if recent form holds Correia might be expected to have a good outing Wednesday night.
On the season Correia has allowed 170 hits in 140 2/3 innings, walked 33 and struck out 80.
Minnesota won nine of Correia's first 14 starts this year, but has lost eight of his last 10.
In his one start this year against Detroit Correia held the Tigers to two runs through seven innings of a 3-2 Twins win back on April 3.
However, that game was at Target Field; Correia owns a 6.10 ERA on the road this season.
Detroit slugger Miguel Cabrera is a dealing with an abdominal injury, and bettors might want to check to see if he's in the lineup before doing anything drastic with this game.
On the other side of the lineup card Minnesota will be without C Joe Mauer, who's been placed on the DL because of concussion symptoms.
Our Take on Wednesday's Game
Like the roll of the dice, one outcome isn't supposed to have any affect on the next. But it's just hard for us to believe the Twins will beat the Tigers twice in a row. So we like Detroit for tonight. But that price is just too darn high. So we'll give the run and a half and add Detroit on the run line to our free sports picks for Wednesday.Free MLB Pick: Take the Tigers at the -110 offered on the run line at TheGreek.
Tuesday's Series Opener
By: Ron Patrick
When it comes to placing our MLB picks, how should we handle this series from a handicapping perspective?
Check out our Tuesday Morning MLB Odds & Betting Lines Report.
Tuesday's Twins-Tigers Betting Lines
In the early betting most online baseball betting shops were chalking Detroit and Rick Porcello at around -210 over Minnesota and Mike Pelfrey, with a total of nine.
Also, the MLB odds at TheGreek.com are listing Detroit at a heavy -400 to win this series, with the Twins getting +300.
Twins-Tigers Series Set-Up
Detroit just took three of five games at home against Kansas City over the weekend, winning Sunday's series rubber match 6-3. So the Tigers, at 73-51, lead the AL Central by 6.5 games over second-place Cleveland.
Detroit also leads Boston by a half-game in the battle for the best record in the American League.
The Twins lost a make-up game to the Mets Monday 6-1, and have lost four in a row, after dropping the last three games of a series against the White Sox over the weekend.
So at 54-69 Minnesota is playing out the string on this season.
Detroit leads the season series with the Twinkies eight games to five, with 10 of those games playing UNDER on the totals.
Tuesday's Pitching Match-Up
Rick Porcello (9-6, 4.33) is, by our tough standards, 8-for-22 on quality starts this season, although he's gone eight straight starts of allowing three runs or fewer. Most recently he gave up three runs in six innings vs. the White Sox, and over his last three starts he's given up seven ER on 29 baserunners (hits + walks) in 18 2/3 innings.
For the season Porcello allowed 142 hits in 131 innings, walked 28 and struck out 98.
Detroit only won seven of Porcello's first 16 starts this year, but has won six of his last seven outings.
In three starts this year against the Twins Porcello has given up eight ER and 22 baserunners in 17 1/3 innings; the Tigers won two of those three games.
Pelfrey (4-10, 5.26) is just 4-for-22 on quality starts this season, in large part because he's pitched six full innings just nine times. Last time out he gave up three runs in 6 1/3 innings vs. the White Sox, and over his last three starts he's allowed nine ER and 27 baserunners (hits + walks) in 16 1/3 innings.
On the season Pelfrey has given up 140 hits and walked 39 in 114 2/3 innings.
Minnesota is 9-13 in Pelfrey's starts this year.
In three starts this season against Detroit Pelfrey has allowed nine ER and 24 baserunners in 16 2/3 innings; the Twins lost two of those three games.
In the battle of the bullpens for this series Minnesota ranks seventh with a 3.05 ERA and has converted 31 of 46 save chances, while the Tigers rank 21st with a 3.80 ERA and made good on 28 of 41 save opportunities.
Twins-Tigers At the Bat
Detroit ranks second in the Majors in team OPB at .346, fifth in homers with 144, last in stolen bases with 30 but first in scoring at 5.1 runs per game.
Minnesota ranks 19th in OBP at .313, 17th in homers with 118, 27th in stolen bases with 38 and 20th in scoring at just under four RPG.
Twins-Tigers Betting Trends
Detroit is 40-21 at home this season.
Minnesota is 26-36 on the road.
The OVER/UNDERS are 33-26 in games played at Comerica Park this year.
Our Take on Tuesday's Game
Detroit is an obvious favorite for this game and series, but will be favored by big prices. And we don't like big prices when we're betting favorites. So we'll gamble a little on the highest-scoring team in baseball and add a run-line bet on the Tigers to our free sports picks for Tuesday.Pick: Take Detroit minus the run and a half at the -105 offered at 5Dimes.