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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, June 19, 2015 at 7:00 PM

Both the Detroit Tigers and New York Yankees are still thinking BIG for the 2015 championship chase as they head into a high profile prime time TV meeting Saturday night in the Bronx. Neither leads its division right now. The Yankees trail the suddenly hot Tampa Bay Rays, though they have a chance to get back on top once an unlucky schedule quirk evens out their home/road split. Detroit doesn’t yet have the production of a playoff team, but certainly has the talent to get the job done from this point forward.

A look at current offshore odds to win the American League show that both are on the short list of serious contenders. The Yanks only trail defending league champion Kansas City…

 

ODDS TO WIN AL PENNANT

Kansas City +400

NY Yankees +700

Houston +800

Tampa Bay +800

Detroit +900

Toronto +900

As fans of the sport, it was great to see Tampa Bay and Toronto lift their games in recent weeks. The AL had gotten off to such a boring start! You probably noticed the AL owned the NL this week in Interleague action. Great pennant race shaping up particularly if the Tigers can start getting things on track in time to join the fun in a meaningful way.

Let’s see what JIM HURLEY’S key indicator stats are suggesting about this Yankees/Tigers matchup…

 

OFFENSE

Detroit: 4.18 runs per game, .333 on-base, .411 slugging

Yankees: 4.56 runs per game, .318 on-base, .416 slugging

Interesting…the Yanks have a fairly big edge on a per-game basis, yet aren’t showing any clear reason for that in the most important offensive categories. In fact, sabermetrics has long held that on-base percentage was more important than slugging in terms of consistent run production. These teams should be about even! Tigers must be hitting in some bad luck, the Yankees in some good luck. Probably a wash for handicapping purposes going forward. It’s arguable that figuring out what’s happening with Detroit’s offense will be one of the most important handicapping angles for the rest of the 2015 season.

 

SATURDAY’S PITCHERS

Aldredo Simon: 2.58 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, 6.6 K-Rate, 6.4 IP-per-Start

Nathan Eovaldi: 5.12 ERA, 1.65 WHIP, 6.4 K-Rate, 5.4 IP-per-Start

What got into Alfredo Simon?! Five quality starts in his last six outings has knocked about a run off Simon’s ERA. Those are stellar numbers for a guy who’s been in the rotation all year (12 starts). A very pleasant surprise for the Tigers in a season that’s otherwise been disappointing. Eovaldi is coming off that epic disaster vs. Miami where he allowed 8 earned runs and didn’t get out of the first inning. He only has three quality starts in his last 10 outings, and appears to be in over his head in a big time AL rotation. The difference between these arms probably isn’t as big as those raw numbers suggest. But, you’d have to consider that a clear advantage for the visitors. Simon is getting the job done, while Eovaldi only does that every so often.

As of press time, we don’t know yet whether or not this game will be part of NETWORK’S big Saturday package. There are several other great possibilities on the card. You can purchase the final word for Saturday right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call us in the office at 1-888-777-4155 before the early games get started. Don’t forget that this is a great day to check in on early-bird rates for football as well.

It’s all baseball for the next several days. But, heads up…our summer series of college football conference previews will begin next weekend!

Sunday: MLB Notes

Monday: MLB Series Preview…Los Angeles Dodgers at the Chicago Cubs

Tuesday: MLB Series Preview….San Diego Padres at San Francisco Giants

Wednesday MLB Big Game Preview…to be determined

Thursday: MLB Series Preview…New York Yankees at Houston Astros

Friday: MLB Series Preview…Chicago Cubs at St. Louis Cardinals

A lot of marquee matchups involving contenders on the immediate horizon. Then, next Saturday and Sunday we’re scheduled to begin our college football coverage with a look at the Mountain West Conference. Look for weekend reports for the mid-majors, and then the majors through July and early August…before coverage hands off to the NFL for the start of the Preseason slate August 9 in the Hall of Fame Game.

That’s right…the summer is already flying by and football will be here before you know it!

Whatever the sport…whatever the month…whatever the handicapping challenge, you’re always going to GET THE MONEY with JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK!

 

Be sure to follow:

Jim Hurley on twitter @vsm_hurley

Vegas-Sports-Masters on twitter @vsmasters

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