The Detroit Tigers send their secret weapon to the mound Wednesday against the Minnesota Twins, with the MLB odds favoring Detroit. find inside our free MLB pick.
Jason's 2015 record as of May 12: 18-10, plus-8.25 units ML; 0-2, minus-2.05 units Total
The Detroit Tigers aren't just going to get a free pass to their fifth consecutive AL Central crown. After winning nine of their first 10 games this year, the Tigers have been meeting heavy resistance from within the division, dropping back-to-back series to the Chicago White Sox and the Kansas City Royals. Anybody could end up winning the Central at this rate.
Yes, that includes the Minnesota Twins. They've only beaten the Tigers once in seven tries this year, but the Twins took Detroit (–146 at home) to the limit Tuesday night before losing 2-1 in 10 innings. Wednesday's MLB betting odds for Game 2 of this three-game set have the Tigers laying chalk again at –140. Not to worry, Motown. You guardian angel has arrived.
Get Thee Hens
Ladies and gentlemen, please welcome the man, the myth, the legend: Kyle Lobstein. Not too many people have recognized the fine work Lobstein has done since making his MLB debut with the Tigers last year. But as we go to press, the No. 5 man in the Tigers pitching rotation is their No. 1 starter – if you go by Lobstein's 3.24 FIP. That's better than supposed ace and alleged former Cy Young winner David Price (3.27 FIP).
More importantly for our purposes, Lobstein has been profitable from Day One. The Tigers won his first four starts in 2014 as a late-season call-up from the AAA-Toldeo Mud Hens. This year, Detroit is 3-2 behind the rangy southpaw for plus-0.90 betting units of profit. Lobstein's last start was a gem: He gave up just one unearned run to the Chicago White Sox over 7.2 innings of work, as Detroit (+106 away) cashed in with a 4-1 victory.
Now all the Tigers (20-13, plus-5.36 units) have to do is get those bats working again. On the full season thus far, Detroit ranks No. 6 in the majors at 5.4 WAR, but narrow that down to the past two weeks going into Tuesday's action, and that ranking falls all the way to No. 22. Detroit's team OPS has likewise tumbled from .795 in April to .636 in May. Did they forget to pay the power bill again?
Ricky Don't Lose That Slider
Despite losing Tuesday night, the Twins are still doing very well for themselves at 18-15 and plus-6.59 units. Not bad for a team that was 100-1 to win the World Series going into the 2015 campaign. With odds that long, chalk hasn't been a concern for Minnesota fans like it has been in Detroit. Such is the case Wednesday night (7:08 p.m. ET), although it's hard to call the Twins a value pick when Ricky Nolasco (3.68 FIP) is scheduled to start.
That may seem counter-intuitive at first blush. Nolasco has a solid FIP, and the Twins are 2-1 in his three starts for one full betting unit of earnings. But take a closer look: Nolasco hasn't gotten beyond the fifth inning this year. He spent most of April on the disabled list with an inflamed right elbow, then Nolasco needed his teammates to bail him out twice since his return, both in the bullpen and the batting order. He's fresh meat until proven otherwise.
Nolasco may wake up those Detroit bats, but since they've been so quiet lately, let's stick with our hero, Mr. Lobstein. He's only owned in 5% of Yahoo leagues at press time. Trying to cherry-pick a reliever to add to your hold total might not be worth the risk; the Tigers bullpen ranks No. 24 in the majors at 0.2 WAR. Lobstein went at least seven innings in his last three starts, so we'll roll with him anyway and put Detroit in our MLB picks.
Free MLB Pick: Take the Tigers at Pinnacle