Submitted by Jim Hurley on Tuesday, June 24, 2014 at 7:00 AM
Last Monday we previewed the Kansas City/Detroit series that was looming very large in the suddenly tight AL Central race. The Tigers lost the first three games at home to the Royals…and lost first place in the process! But, a win in the series finale, and then a weekend sweep in Cleveland helped re-establish the pecking order in that division.
*Detroit finished the weekend with a 2.5 game lead over Kansas City. While the Tigers were sweeping Cleveland, the Royals were getting swept by Seattle! We alerted you to letdown potential in our Mariners/Royals series preview last Friday.
*Detroit put needed distance between themselves and third place Cleveland. The Indians were in the thick of the race when that series began. After the weekend, the Tribe was five games back.
The bad news is that Detroit still has to worry about Max Scherzer and Justin Verlander. If those guys continue to play below expectations, then this isn’t a pennant-caliber team. If those guys can just play to something approaching career norms, then Detroit will still be able to run away with the division.
Neither Scherzer nor Verlander will pitch against Texas this week. Maybe that’s good news! What’s definitely good news is that the vaunted Tigers offense will get to face three very vulnerable Rangers pitchers in a fantastic hitting park. Detroit is likely to light up the Arlington scoreboard.
Detroit: 4.56 runs per game, .326 on-base, .437 slugging
Texas: 4.24 runs per game, .323 on-base, .390 slugging
Detroit has superior numbers even though Texas plays home games in a great hitter’s park. Imagine what Detroit would slug if they got to play have their games in Arlington! Big advantage here in handicapping terms because the Tigers have the much better park-adjusted offense.
Now…look at the probable pitchers those offenses will be facing…
Drew Smyly: 3.48 ERA, 1.29 WHIP, 7.6 K-Rate
Colby Lewis: 5.97 ERA, 1.86 WHIP, 7.2 K-Rate
That’s right, a WHIP of 1.86! Colby Lewis is going to be in big trouble in this stadium against the potent Tigers offense. And, even if he hangs on…he’s only averaging 5.3 innings per start this year. That’s going to place a burden on the bullpen. Note that Smyly is coming off three straight quality starts. He may be slightly worse than par at this site, but will still have a big edge on the mound vs. the struggling Lewis.
WEDNESDAY’S PITCHERS (nationally televised on ESPN2)
Anibal Sanchez: 2.33 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 7.6 K-Rate
Nick Tepesch: 4.38 ERA, 1.49 WHIP, 5.8 K-Rate
Tepesch is a pitch-to-contact hurler given that low K-Rate. That’s the last thing that’s likely to work in Arlington against a strong offense. Sanchez of Detroit is still providing ace caliber performance. He just three seven good innings against Kansas City the last time we previewed him. Huge edge for the Tigers again here.
Rick Porcello: 3.76 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, 5.7 K-Rate
Joe Saunders: 4.11 ERA, 1.92 WHIP, 5.3 K-Rate
Yes, the Rangers may be counting on Joe Saunders to stem the bleeding by the time Thursday rolls around. His ERA is a miracle given that incredibly high WHIP and low K-Rate. He’s another pitch-to-contact hurler. The Rangers K-guys are hurt except for Yu Darvish. Porcello also has a low K-Rate…which will give the Rangers a fighting chance to compete.
All told…you have a surging visitor with a potent offense trying to re-establish order in the American League Championship picture…and a fading host who has to throw three starting pitchers who arguably shouldn’t be in Major League rotations right now. Definitely a series where you want to look for market price value with Detroit and Over.
JIM HURLEY will be doing just that, particularly in the TV game Wednesday night. You can always purchase the final word on game day BEST BETS right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about extended service, call us during regular business hours at 1-888-777-4155. Don’t forget to ask about early-bird football rates when you call.
Baseball previews continue through the week before July brings a mix of baseball and college football conference previews. This week’s tentative schedule…
Wednesday: MLB Big Game Preview…LA Dodgers at Kansas City
Thursday: MLB Series Preview…St. Louis at LA Dodgers
Friday: MLB Series Preview…Oakland at Miami
Saturday: MLB Big Game Preview…Cincinnati at San Francisco
Sunday: MLB TV Preview…Boston at NY Yankees
JIM HURLEY is going to light up your bankroll the way Detroit is going to light up Texas pitching. Be sure you GET ALL THE MONEY with JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK!