Verlander & Tigers Aim To Shutdown Angels In Friday Night Opener

Jay Pryce

Friday, August 26, 2016 2:48 PM UTC

Friday, Aug. 26, 2016 2:48 PM UTC

Red-hot Justin Verlander and the Tigers host the Angels in Detroit Friday night, the first of a vital  six-game homestand for the first team out of the postseason currently. MLB Pick and preview here. 

Los Angeles Angles (54-73) – Ricky Nolasco (4-11, 5.22 ERA)
The Angels did something uncommon away from Anaheim Stadium on Wednesday and Thursday nights: win. Topping the AL East-leading Blue Jays 8-2 and 6-3 respectively,  L.A. snapped an 11-game road losing streak in Toronto. Its 25-40 road record, in fact, is the fourth worst in MLB behind the Padres (23-40), Reds (22-39), and Brewers (20-41). The pitching is letting the team down in this spot, allowing 5.5 runs per contests.

Manager Mike Scioscia pencils in new arrival and former AL Central player Ricky Nolasco for the start. Nolasco has dropped each of his first four decisions with Angles since coming over from the Twins for Hector Santiago at the trade deadline.

It’s been a rough season for 10-year pro. Nolasco’s ERA has hovered above 4.90 since mid-May, and he’s gifting plenty of home runs. His 1.4 allowed per nine innings is tied for 11th most of all AL starters, serving up a long ball in all but eight of his 25 starts. Runs are pouring in as a result. The OVER is 17-8 when Nolasco commands the hill this season, he and his relief allowing 5.3 runs per game.

Nolasco is 2-3 with a 3.86 ERA in eight career starts against the Tigers. Collectively, the current Detroit lineup crushes him. Hitting .316 (48-for-152) as a group, four core players are batting .333 or better: Ian Kinsler (9-for-26), Justin Upton (9-for-22), J.D. Martinez (7-for-21), and Victor Martinez (7-for-17). Surprisingly, in 168 plate appearances, Nolasco has allowed just one home run (Upton).


Detroit Tigers (68-59) – Justin Verlander (13-7. 3.38 ERA)
Detroit is closing in on the Cleveland Indians for the top spot in the AL Central. Sitting just 4.5 games out, it has won its last four games in a row after sweeping the Twins in three in Minnesota with an 8-5 win Thursday night. The Tigers look to continue their climb Friday but are just 5-21 in their last 26 played against the Angels.

Team ace Justin Verlander takes the pill for the opener. Detroit is 15-11 when Verlander starts this season, although there should be a few more victories overall with him and the bullpen allowing just 3.8 runs per outing. Manager Brad Ausmus’ lineups support the one-time AL MVP with only 4.1 runs per game, well below their 4.7 season average (ninth in MLB).

Verlander might see some runs tonight. Detroit is 16-1 in its last 17 games facing off against starters with a 4.65 ERA or higher. Ausmus’ crew crosses the plate 5.7 times on 9.8 hits per game in this spot.

Verlander is 5-7 with a 3.77 ERA in 15 lifetime starts against the Angels. He is holding the current roster to a paltry .185 batting average. MVP favorite Mike Trout is 1-for-12 with 4 Ks and a home run in 14 plate appearances.


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Final Analysis
Nolasco has faced the Tigers three times this season while with the Twins, improving in each start. He allowed 5 earned runs on 8 hits in 5 2/3 innings first time out, 4 on 9 hits in 5 innings the second, and only 1 on 3 hits in six frames in his last effort back in mid-July. Can he continue to get better? Maybe, but it will still probably not be enough to best the red-hot Verlander. The Tigers ace is sporting a 2.02 ERA over his last seven starts, fanning 51 and allowing just 30 hits over 49.0 frames. Opening as -210 favorites on most book's MLB Odds, the price is too high to back the Tigers, and given their struggles with the Angels over the years may be worth a fade at big value. But the UNDER 8.5 offers the best value in our book with Verlander holding opponents to two runs or fewer through the first five innings in 21 of 26 starts, and Nolasco making gains on Tigers’ hitters.


Free MLB Pick: UNDER 8.5
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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