Tigers Roaring Back
Once again, we start this column with the Cleveland Indians. But this time, it’s not all about them. The Detroit Tigers have now won six in a row and are just 5.5 games back of the Tribe in the American League Central. Problem is that the Motor City contingent is 0-9 vs. the Indians this season! The two division rivals meet again this week, in Cleveland. Their win streak finally halted at 14 games, the Tribe were humiliated Sunday, losing 17-1 to the Blue Jays (second straight loss). They do have the luxury of sending out Danny Salazar and Carlos Carrasco in the first two games of this series. But is Detroit really going to lose every game to them this season? Probably not.
One team you’ll probably want to stay away from this week is Milwaukee. The underdog prices might be tempting at Washington, and they did beat the Nationals two of three at home last week, but beware that this team is 0-10 this season as a road underdog of +175 or higher on the money line. They figure to be in that price range in every game this series, certainly on Monday vs. Max Scherzer, even though their own starter (Junior Guerra) has a 0.787 WHIP his last three starts. The Brew Crew just got swept in St. Louis over the weekend, so they’re not exactly in good form. This is the second straight bad team from the NL Central that the Nats welcome in. They just took three of four from the Reds, including a 12-1 win Sunday.
Texas has been the #1 money-earning team this season and it’s not even close. They are up 27.6 units and the #2 earner (San Francisco) is at +14.9. The oddsmakers figure to have them as underdogs against Boston this week and while that sounds tempting, I’m not entirely sold on the Rangers. While it may be true that they currently own the biggest division lead in all of baseball (yes, even bigger than the Cubs!), Texas has dropped two in a row (to Minnesota) and I’d be concerned that an 18-7 record in one-run games is due to regress. Their run differential is actually bested by four other AL teams, the Red Sox being one of them. There won’t be any Cole Hamels (lost Sunday) in this next series either.
WAG of the Week
Since the Detroit Tigers are the featured team this week…Happy Independence Day!
* Mike Trout has been hitting really well of late, going 13 of 24 at the plate over the past week with nine runs scored and two home runs. Interestingly, he’s batted only three runners in.
* I was interested to find out what player had the best batting average in road games this season (had to have at least 130 AB’s). The answer, following a 3 for 5 night at the plate on Sunday, is the Marlins’ Martin Prado. He is now at .408 outside of Miami.
* Colorado’s Tyler Chatwood is set to return from the disabled list and looks to likely start Tuesday in San Francisco. Chatwood has been the Rockies best pitcher this season – clearly – and he’s probably loving the fact his first start back will be on the road. That’s because he’s yet to lose outside of Coors Field this year (5-0) thanks to a 1.25 ERA and 0.969 WHIP.
* Prior to wins by Johnny Cueto and Stephen Strasburg over the weekend, Baltimore’s Chris Tillman had been the most profitable starter to bet on in 2016 MLB. But, like the team, I’m not a real believer here. Tillman has a 3.71 ERA and 1.248 WHIP, not bad numbers per se, but certainly not indicative of someone that has a 14-3 team start record. Consider fading him Tuesday at Dodger Stadium.
The Over is 8-0-2 in Cubs-Reds games this season. Those two teams begin a three-game series Monday at Wrigley Field.
Monday’s Weather Report
* Nearly a 100 percent chance of rain in D.C. today for the early Independence Day matchup between the Nationals and the Milwaukee Brewers. There is a chance of a thunder shower later in the afternoon and will be a 5-10 mph wind blowing out to left field. The total today is set at 7.0.
* There is a chance of thunderstorms and a 50 percent chance of rain this afternoon in St. Louis where the Cards will host the division rival Pittsburgh Pirates. This game will also feature a 5-10 mph wind blowing out to right field. The total is set at 8.5.
* There is a 60 percent chance of rain this afternoon in Philadelphia for the game between the Phillies and the Atlants Braves. There may be a rogue thunderstorm late in the afternoon and a 10-15 mph wind blowing straight out to center field is in the forecast. The total is set at 8.5.
* Expect a nice hitter’s wind in Queens this afternoon for the game between the Mets and the Miami Marlins. The forecast is calling for a 15 mph wind blowing directly out to center at Citi Field. The total is currently set at 7.5.
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