With all due respect to the Oakland A’s, who have had a tremendous season, I guarantee you that the Detroit Tigers preferred to face the A’s as the AL West champs in the division series over the Texas Rangers.
Despite having a worse record than Oakland, Detroit got to host the first two games of their ALDS series (this year only) and took big advantage by winning both to send the series to Oakland with the A’s having to win three straight starting Tuesday – including beating Justin Verlander in a possible Game 5 – to advance to the ALCS.
Detroit’s strong start already has shifted the futures odds as now the Tigers are the Sportsbook.ag American League pennant favorites at +105 ahead of the Yankees (+120). The A’s have fallen to +1000. The really bad news for Oakland is that the Tigers are winning without much yet from Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera or Prince Fielder. They are a combined 4-for-16 with one run and no RBI. The only player really hitting so far on the A’s, who are batting a cumulative .203 through two games, is Yoenis Cespedes.
Cespedes was involved in perhaps the most memorable moment of that series. He was facing Tigers reliever Al Albuquerque in the top of the ninth of Game 2 with the score tied at four and runners on the corners with two outs. Albuquerque got Cespedes to ground out back to him but kissed the ball before throwing it to first for the inning-ending out. Some A’s players obviously weren’t happy with that bit of showmanship.
The San Francisco Giants, meanwhile, weren’t able to take advantage of hosting the first two games against the Reds in dropping both. Now they have to win three straight starting Tuesday in Cincinnati. That result also has moved the Reds up on the NL pennant futures odds, now +110 favorites to Washington’s +125. Remember that the Nats would have home-field advantage in a possible NLCS matchup. Reds-Tigers and Reds-Yankees are the two favored World Series matchups on the site at +500.
San Francisco probably blew its chance at the series by failing to win Game 1 even though Reds ace Johnny Cueto left with back spasms after just eight pitches. The Giants are hitting a sickly .143 so far. Big trade acquisitions Hunter Pence and Marco Scutaro are 0-for-16; Scutaro ended the regular season on a 20-game winning streak. Sunday’s 9-0 loss was the Giants’ worst playoff shutout loss ever. At one point, 11 straight Giants batters failed to get the ball out of the infield against Bronson Arroyo.
Since Division Series play began in 1995, the team going up 2-0 has advanced 38 of 42 times, or 90 percent of the time. The last was the 2003 Red Sox, and no National League team has done it.
Tuesday’s Game 3 Probable Pitchers
San Francisco at Cincinnati – Giants RHP Ryan Vogelsong (14-9, 3.37) vs. Reds RHP Homer Bailey (13-10, 3.68): How far has former two-time NL Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum fallen? He has been passed over in this spot and will be available out of the bullpen again if Vogelsong falters; Lincecum did get two innings of work in Sunday’s loss. Vogelsong was one of the most dependable pitchers in baseball until about mid-August as he led the NL in ERA as late as Aug. 12. But overall his August ERA was 6.32 and in September it was 6.46 as batters hit .313 off him. Vogelsong got no-decisions in both starts this year vs. the Reds, allowing six earned runs over 13 innings. Originally Mat Latos was set to start Game 3 for Cincy but he was forced into action when Cueto left Game 1. Bailey threw a no-hitter in his second-to-last start of the regular season and followed that with four shutout innings in his finale vs. St. Louis. Bailey faced the Giants on April 26, getting a no-decision after allowing three runs on seven hits in 6.1 innings. Bailey was much worse at home this year with a 5.16 ERA.
Detroit at Oakland – Tigers RHP Anibal Sanchez (9-13, 3.86) vs. A’s LHP Brett Anderson (4-2, 2.57): Sanchez, the former Marlin, has faced Oakland once in his career: On Sept 20, he lost to the A’s by allowing six runs on six hits in 5.2 innings. Seth Smith lit him up that day with three hits and four RBI. Sanchez allowed only one earned run combined in his final two starts of the season. Anderson made his season debut in late August off Tommy John surgery. He hasn’t pitched since straining an oblique muscle in a loss to the Tigers on Sept. 19, allowing three runs in 2.1 innings. He has made two starts this year in Oakland and won both, allowing two runs in 13 innings.
Tuesday’s Game 3 Betting Odds and Trends
On BookMaker, Cincinnati is a -140 favorite with the total at 8.0. The Giants are 8-2 in their last 10 road games with the total set at 7.0-8.5. San Francisco is 7-3 in its last 10 road games vs. a right-handed starter. The Giants are 1-6 in Vogelsong’s past seven starts after allowing five runs or more in their previous game. The Reds are 12-0 in their last 12 home games vs. a team with a winning road record. Cincinnati is 1-5 in Bailey’s past six home starts. The “under” is 10-1-2 in the Reds’ last 13 home games vs. a right-handed starter. San Francisco is 1-7 in the past eight meetings in Cincinnati.
Oakland is a -135 favorite with the total at seven. The Tigers are 8-2 in their last 10 games with the total set at 7.0-8.5. Detroit is 8-20 in its past 28 road games vs. a left-handed starter. Oakland is 28-7 in its last 35 home games vs. a right-handed starter. The A’s are 4-0 as a favorite in Anderson’s past four starts. The under is 6-1 in Sanchez’s past seven starts. The “over” is 7-1 in Oakland’s past eight after a loss. The over is 4-1 in the past five meetings.
Tuesday’s Game 3 Betting Predictions
Definitely didn’t get the playoffs off to a good start in picking both favorites in last Friday’s wild-card games, although at least I was able to salvage one total. In fact, the road teams have been very good through this small sample size. However, I must go with the Reds because I simply don’t think that the Giants can score enough. Take the under there. I do believe that Detroit finishes the job on Tuesday, and go over there.
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