Tigers & Mariners Renew Acquaintances, This Time in Seattle

mariners tigers

Matthew Jordan

Wednesday, May 16, 2018 4:46 PM UTC

Wednesday, May. 16, 2018 4:46 PM UTC

For the second weekend in a row, the Tigers and Mariners face off in a series. The opener of a four-game set in Seattle is Thursday night.

Detroit Tigers at Seattle MarinersFree MLB Pick: Under (& Tigers)Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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The Detroit Tigers open a seven-game road trip in Seattle on Thursday night to kick off a four-game series at Safeco Field. Come Sunday, these teams are done playing another in the 2018 season.

That’s because the Tigers took two of three at home vs. the Mariners last weekend. Friday’s game was postponed so the teams played a doubleheader on Saturday and they split. Detroit won the series finale 5-4 on Sunday.

A big reason why Seattle got its lone victory in the series was a three-run homer in Game 2 of the doubleheader by second baseman and likely future Hall of Famer Robinson Cano. However, on Sunday Cano suffered a broken bone in his right hand after being hit there on an 88-mph fastball from Tigers left-hander Blaine Hardy. That was a fairly devastating injury for a Mariners team that had realistic wild-card hopes and has the longest playoff drought in baseball.

The 35-year-old, who is likely to be a member of the 3,000-hit club in a few years, hasn’t played fewer than 150 games since he was a young rising star in 2006 with the New York Yankees. Last year, he was still good for a .280 averaged, 23 homers and 97 RBIs – a WAR of 3.4. This year, he had a WAR of 1.6 with a .287 average, four homers and 23 RBIs in 39 games.

The injury was going to obviously sideline him a while, but now it’s almost good timing. Shocking news on Tuesday that Cano was suspended 80 games for violating MLB’s joint drug agreement. Wow. Cano tested positive for the diuretic Furosemide (it can mask PEDs) and didn’t appeal the suspension; well, he dropped it after suffering the injury. So that means even were Seattle to make the playoffs, Cano wouldn’t be eligible for postseason play. That’s part of the punishment. He also will lose $11.85 million in salary – and probably any shot at the Hall of Fame with a PED stain on his resume.

Seattle does have an All-Star and Gold Glove second baseman on the roster in Dee Gordon, but he was acquired via trade this offseason from the Marlins to play center field, and the Mariners are going to keep him there at least for now. Instead, the M’s will use veteran Gordon Beckham at second after he was promoted from Triple-A earlier this week. Interestingly, had the 31-year-old not been promoted from Tacoma, then Tuesday might have been his last day in the Mariners organization. Beckham said he was primed to opt out of his contract and sign somewhere else with a better chance to play because he was hitting well.

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Probable Pitchers: Boyd vs. Gonzales

It’s 27-year-old lefty Matthew Boyd (2-3, 3.21) on the mound for Detroit. Boyd is below .500 despite a very good ERA because he gets among the fewest run support in the majors at 2.57 per game. The Tigers have scored more than four runs in a Boyd start just once (April 18 in a no decision vs. Baltimore).

Boyd got the win in Game 1 of last Saturday’s doubleheader vs. the Mariners, allowing three runs and just three hits over six innings in a quality start. Boyd came out for the seventh inning having only allowed a run but was pulled after allowing the first two batters he faced to reach base and both inherited baserunners would score on Buck Farmer. Boyd has gone at least six innings in six of his seven starts and has a 2.93 ERA in his past 11 starts dating to Sept. 12, 2017.

No Mariner has more than three career at-bats off Boyd. Cano had been 1-for-3 with a double. Ryon Healy is 1-for-2 with a double. Boyd won’t have to worry about slugger Nelson Cruz, apparently. He left Tuesday’s game vs. Texas after getting hit by a pitch on his right foot. X-rays turned up negative, but Cruz is expected to miss a couple of games.

It’s 26-year-old Mariners lefty Marco Gonzales, who has Tigers ties: His father was former Detroit draft pick and long-time Toledo Mud Hens (Tigers’ Triple-A affiliate) pitcher Frank Gonzales. Marco (3-3, 5.31) took the loss opposite Boyd on Saturday, allowing four runs and 10 hits over six. Gonzales limited Detroit to just run over the first five but gave up three runs during the sixth, including two on a homer by Jose Iglesias. The 10 hits were a season high and it was the fourth time in eight starts he has allowed exactly four earned. Batters are hitting a robust .325 off him.

No Tiger has more than three at-bats off Gonzales. Iglesias is 2-for-3 with that homer. Nicholas Castellanos and JaCoby Jones are also 2-for-3 off him.

  • Under is 9-3 in Tigers last 12 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
  • Under is 4-1 in Mariners last 5 during game 1 of a series.
  • Under is 5-2 in Boyd's last 7 starts overall.

Gonzales has an ugly 7.07 ERA in three home starts, but it has been proven the Tigers don’t score much for Boyd, who should keep Seattle largely in check again without Cano & Cruz. It’s also a pitcher-friendly park so ‘under’ is the Thursday MLB pick. Slight second lean to Tigers even though they have lost seven straight in Seattle

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