Tigers a Live Home Run-Line Dog Against Tomlin

Mark Lathrop

Thursday, June 29, 2017 8:21 PM UTC

Thursday, Jun. 29, 2017 8:21 PM UTC

With Michael Fulmer giving the maligned Detroit bullpen the day off on Thursday, our MLB handicapper gets the all-clear to back the Tigers as a home run-line dog against the Cleveland Indians.

Anibal Sanchez takes his 3rd turn since returning to the Detroit Tigers rotation on Friday night against the Cleveland Indians. After being absolutely terrible in his 21.0 innings of relief work to start the season, Sanchez found himself in AAA. Since being called back up to start; however, Sanchez has been effective and finds himself with an above average 4.05 FIP in that role. It’s just 11 innings of work, so let’s not get ahead of ourselves, but the .175 BAA and 0.91 WHIP in those starts is a great sign.

Anibal Sanchez’s best years were in 2013 and 2014 where he picked up his fastball velocity to make his change and slider even more effective. He’s down over 2 mph on his fastball from that time, with the same drops in velocity for his off-speed pitches. That velocity drop is correlated to an increase in the very low HR/FB% he was experiencing in Comerica, and his HR/FB rate has jumped from 3.1% in 2014 to 21.7% this year. 

Amazingly enough, when Josh Tomlin walked 3 batters in his game against the Twins last weekend it was the first time he had walked more than 2 batters all year. He got tagged by a home run as well in that game, which has developed into a problem of late. Tomlin has given up 6 home runs in his last 15.1 innings pitched and his HR/FB rate is 18.4% in June. He is allowing a .317 BAA to lefties and a .320 BAA to righties. The bottom line is that Tomlin is getting hit around quite a bit and has given up seven or more hits in 12 of his 15 starts (2 of the others he gave up 6 hits).

Looking at the odds available we see that Cleveland has been installed as a slight road favorite here at -116. That makes sense with their record of 41-36 against the Tigers sitting at 34-43. The Tigers also now own the worst bullpen according to WAR and they have a team bullpen FIP of 5.06. Cleveland’s bullpen is one of the best in the MLB with an FIP of 3.20. These bullpen trends still hold when just looking at the last 14 days as well. However, Michael Fulmer effectively gave the day off to the Detroit bullpen on Thursday with his excellent performance against Kansas City. I’ll take that into account when looking to fade Tomlin, who I believe could get shelled at any time and create a lead that even the Tigers can’t cough up. Turning to the run line for a bit of insurance, I’ll take the Tigers +1.5 at -135 at Heritage as one of my Friday MLB picks.

Free MLB Pick: Tigers +1.5Best Line Offered: at Heritage

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