The Detroit Tigers and Baltimore Orioles both went into the break in slumps, making their series in on this weekend's baseball betting schedule crucial for both team's playoff chances.
It was a mediocre first half of the 2015 MLB betting campaign for the Baltimore Orioles and Detroit Tigers, but both American League clubs are confident they will turn things around the next 11 weeks to push their way into the playoffs. With identical records and spots in their respective division races, it's appropriate for the rivals to open the second half of the campaign facing off at Comerica Park in Motown.
Game 1 of the weekend set gets underway a little past seven o'clock on Friday evening, and the Tigers are slight -115 chalk at BetOnline according to SBR's live MLB odds. Anibal Sanchez takes the bump first for the Tigers, Ubaldo Jimenez following him to the mound for the Orioles and an 8 run total leaning a bit to the 'over.'
Friday marks the first time since their ALDS confrontation last October that the O's and Tigers have met. They'll have a quick rematch a couple of weeks from now in Baltimore where the clubs will clash for four games. With 2,003 regular season matchups in the history books, the Tigers hold a 1,045-947 lead in the rivalry, 11 more game suspended or tied.
Last October was the first time the squads collided in the playoffs, and it was all Baltimore with a 3-0 sweep. The Orioles have managed to get the best of the Tigers in Detroit since Comerica opened in 2000, winning 27 of the 52 contests on this diamond, that record including the clinching Game 3 of the 2014 ALDS.
Both Sides Begin 2nd Half With Level .500 Records
One result is certain Friday, that being the victor climbing above .500 while the loser dips below the break-even mark. Their matching records don't stop in the W-L columns either, as both clubs also sit even in their return on investment for baseball bettors.
Manager Buck Showalter is hopeful the break helps get his team out the rut it had entering the midseason vacation. Baltimore (44-44, -2.2 units) struggled the final two weeks before Tuesday's All-Star Game, dropping 10 of 13 games to fall from atop the tight AL East all the way into third, four games behind New York beginning play on Friday. The Orioles were shut out twice in that stretch, and held to two runs or fewer four more times. Friday's fracas starts a big 9-game road trip for the Birds, with stops at the New York Yankees and Rays coming up.
Detroit (44-44, -2.2 units) wasn't quite as bad as the Orioles the last couple of weeks, but Brad Ausmus' troops still managed to win just five of 13 before the first half came to a close. Keeping the other team off the pay station was a huge problem for the Tigers who surrendered 83 runs -- 6.4 rpg -- in the stretch and drag a 3-game skid into this series with the O's to sit nine behind Kansas City in the AL Central.
Tigers Have Won Sanchez's Last 6 Starts
Showalter can't complain about the job Jimenez has done all season, nor has the righthander's recent efforts been to blame for Baltimore's slide. On the heels of a 6-9, 4.81 ERA campaign last year that resulted in Jimenez being left off the Orioles postseason roster, he stands 7-4 (Orioles 9-8) in 17 assignments this time around with a solid 2.81 ERA. Jimenez has allowed just one run in his last three starts, yet Baltimore lost two of those games.
Sanchez hasn't been nearly as effective lately as Jimenez, the Venezuelan charged with 14 runs his last four times out, a span of 27.2 innings. Still, the end result has been there with the Tigers winning all four games and each of his last six starts. He saw the Orioles twice last year, one appearance coming out of the bullpen during the playoffs, those outings totaling six innings with two runs crossing the plate.
One team struggling to score runs facing another that has had trouble limiting the opposition from scoring is what we have here, and I'm going to side with the pitchers in this one with a free baseball pick on the 'under' in Detroit.
My MLB pick: Orioles-Tigers Under 8 (-105) at BetOnline
Season: 60-52-2 (+9.40)