Submitted by Kelso Sturgeon on Thursday, June 19, 2014 at 7:00 PM
I can’t believe what I’ve been seeing in recent weeks with the Detroit Tigers. They seemed virtually a LOCK to win the American League Central division when they were sporting a 27-13 record after the first 40 games of the 2014 season. And, even if by some miracle a mediocre AL Central team got hot and caught them from behind…then Detroit was still a lock to make the playoffs as a Wildcard team.
*They were off to a great start
*They had one of the most talented teams in the league
*They had a great starting rotation
*They were in a division where nobody else was likely to be any good
Just 30 games later, there are now big question marks all over the place. Many in Las Vegas just spent a few months talking about how we had never seen a collapse like that of the Indiana Pacers, who fell apart as the best team in the NBA’s Eastern Conference without suffering any major injuries. The Tigers haven’t enjoyed perfect health, but are it’s not like Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander just spent five weeks on the Disabled List. They’re both getting rocked on almost a nightly basis.
Here’s what happened since that 27-13 start…
*Detroit was swept in a three game homestand by the Cleveland Indians.
*Detroit lost three out of four at home to the Texas Rangers, a team…like Cleveland…that has basically been .500 caliber all season.
*Detroit went on the road and split four games with Oakland. That’s tough to do, and suggested to many at the time that a Tigers mini-slump was over.
*Detroit lost two out of three at Seattle, another team that’s been around .500 all season.
*Detroit came home and got swept by AL East leading Toronto. That was a statement series for the Blue Jays, who outscored Detroit 20-10 over the three games. Detroit didn’t just lose, they were drilled.
*Detroit won two out of three vs. Boston, one of the few losing teams in the AL this season. Detroit is still better than losing teams!
*Detroit lost two out of three in Chicago against the White Sox.
*Detroit won two of three against Minnesota, a team that’s finally started to fall off the pace in recent days.
*Detroit was embarrassed at home by Kansas City this week, particularly in a 22-12 debacle in the first two games of the four-game set.
Through that stretch, the Tigers offense has averaged 4 runs per game, slightly below what you need to thrive in the American League…but not truly a disaster. The pitching and defense have allowed 6, that’s SIX runs per game! Holy Cow…how could THIS staff be allowing that many runs? You can’t possibly win doing that. The bullpen has been bad and overworked. I already mentioned that Scherzer and Verlander seemingly lost it completely.
Maybe there are nagging injuries those guys don’t want to talk about. Verlander sure looks like a guy who’s on the tail end of greatness because he also had some struggles last year. Scherzer’s woes came out of the blue…which suggests to me an injury of some sort. He went from being Clayton Kershaw to throwing batting practice in a finger snap.
I talked earlier this week about the importance of monitoring recent form in Major League Baseball. There’s no better example of that right now than the Detroit Tigers. Bettors who have been stubbornly investing in a turnaround continue to get spanked. And, any statheads using “season-to-date” numbers kept getting pounded when a 27-13 team turned into a 9-20 team without any notice (exactly what happened with the Pacers in the NBA).
Will this slide ever end? It’s going to be tough…but there are some potential breaks ahead. Detroit will have three games with Houston and four with Tamp Bay in a couple of weeks. But, Oakland and the Los Angeles Dodgers are on the schedule before the All-Star Break (luckily just two-game sets with both). The final series before the Break in mid-July is a huge four-game rematch in Kansas City. Wonder what the standings will look like when THAT series starts.
If you’ve been having trouble reading the ups and downs of various baseball teams this season, help is always just a few clicks away. You can purchase my daily BEST BETS right here at this very website with your major credit card. Questions can be answered by one of my representatives in the Vegas-Sports-Masters office. Call 1-888-777-4155 with queries. Be sure to ask about Early-bird packages for college and pro football when you call…or about baseball/football combination packages.
Back with you early next week to discuss another topic of interest here in my College of Advanced Sports Betting and Handicapping. The summer coursework will be a mix of baseball and advance football preparation. Winning money in Las Vegas is always a mix of preparation beforehand, then “read and react” abilities once a season is underway. The work never ends…but neither do the profits!