Submitted by Jim Hurley on Tuesday, July 8, 2014 at 7:00 AM
Wow is this going to be something special! It’s way too early to start projecting World Series matchups. And, with the Oakland A’s playing such fantastic baseball this season even before the recent blockbuster trade, it’s dangerous to pencil in anyone but the A’s as the American League entry. But, the LA Dodgers/Detroit Tigers series that begins Tuesday night (and only lasts about 20 hours!) will very much have a postseason feel to it.
*The Dodgers are once again surging midseason…and can make a very good case for themselves as the true National League favorite to reach the Fall Classic. Come October, who’s pitching staff do you want…Milwaukee’s or LA’s?!
*The Tigers are the most clear obstacle in the way of the Oakland A’s. You have may heard or read that Justin Verlander said that the A’s made that recent trade with the Tigers in mind.
*Through a fortunate (for fans) schedule quirk…Verlander and Max Scherzer are scheduled to pitch in this two-game series! Those are big time arms throwing in big time games.
*Zach Greinke will get one of the starts for the Dodgers, and he’s number two on the staff behind Clayton Kershaw in terms of rotation rankings. Were these teams to meet in the 2014 World Series, you’d be seeing a lot of all three of those pitchers.
Kershaw won’t be pitching, so it’s not quite a dream scenario. But, a fantastic two-game set that clearly deserves showcase attention…
LA Dodgers: 4.30 runs per game, .331 on-base, .404 slugging
Detroit: 4.64 runs per game, .330 on-base, .441 slugging
Both of these teams have elite offenses. And, you can make the case that they’re actually dead even once you adjust for the Designated Hitter factor. The Dodgers are much better at getting on base given that handicap. Detroit is a slugging super-team by the lowered “year of the pitcher” standards that are in place in 2014. Two great offenses, meaning a virtual dead heat in this category.
TUESDAY’S PITCHERS (game televised by MLB Network)
Hyun-Jin Ryu: 3.08 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 7.6 K-Rate
Justin Verlander: 4.71 ERA, 1.49 WHIP, 6.9 K-Rate
You know it’s a strong pitching slate when Hyun-Jin Ryu’s name only ranks fourth on the marquee. He’s having a very solid season, highlighted by consistency. He’s thrown quality starts in eight of his last nine outings. And, his ERA was 3.00 when that run started. Consistent! Verlander has righted his ship after a long, sustained struggle that had many wondering if he had lost it for good. He’s thrown three straight quality starts…and still seems to have that “big game” mentality.
WEDNESDAY’S PITCHERS (day game)
Zack Greinke: 2.66 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 9.6 K-Rate
Max Scherzer: 3.47 ERA, 1.19 WHIP, 10.5 K-Rate
Greinke has rebounded well from a shaky start at Kansas City. But, now he’s back on the road against an even better AL offense. Is he the type that’s vulnerable vs. quality but overpowering vs. all the crap offenses in the National League? Scherzer has been in lockstep with Verlander over the past several weeks. That was bad news during their simultaneous slumps…but good news over the last three outings. Opponents have only scored four runs in Scherzer’s last 21 innings.
Handicapping this series may come down to whether or not you think Verlander and Scherzer are truly back in form. Imagine ANY offense trying to hit them back to back in less than 20 hours! Who could even see Scherzer’s pitches in a day-game-after-a-night-game? But, if their recent slumps were an indication of what can go wrong vs. quality…then the Dodgers will be capable of a quick sweep.
As we prepare this preview, there’s no final word yet on whether or not either game will formally be part of a NETWORK package. Closer to game time, you can purchase game day BEST BETS right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about baseball or early-bird football, call the office during normal business hours this week at 1-888-777-4155.
It’s back to college football tomorrow, as we resume our summer series of conference previews. Those will run in a Wednesday-Thursday, Saturday-Sunday rotation so we can pair up divisions in all the split conferences, while allowing for marquee baseball series previews on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Fridays.
Here’s the upcoming schedule…
Wednesday: College Football…Mid-American “East” Preview
Thursday: College Football…Mid-American “West” Preview
Friday: MLB Series Preview…(either St. Louis/Milwaukee, Detroit/KC, or NYY/Baltimore)
Saturday: College Football…Sun Belt Preview
Sunday: College Football…Independents Preview (including Notre Dame)
We switch to major conferences next week, starting with the ACC (Wed-Thu) and the Big 10 (Sat-Sun). July is already flying by!
Don’t let opportunity fly by! We have BIG, JUICY WINNERS going every night in baseball. Build your bankrolls now for the coming football season with JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK!