It was tough picking which series to preview this weekend – sure, I could preview some mismatch every weekend and give you the winner, but what fun is that?
The Yankees-Orioles series is a huge one, but, unfortunately, that started on Thursday. And I generally steer clear of picking four-game series because you are only wagering on the first three. What if there’s a rainout? That could affect the pitching matchups.
I also very seriously pondered Dodgers-Giants, but it’s looking more and more like San Francisco will win the NL West barring a sweep at the hands of L.A. in this series. Plus, I probably will preview Giants at Dodgers when they face off in the final series of the year. Texas-Tampa Bay is another great series and they have met in the past two playoffs. But the Rangers are a lock for the playoffs.
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So instead I am going to go with Tigers at Angels because it’s possible that both make the playoffs (and could face off in the Wild-Card Game) or both miss out – as the standings are now they would be watching the postseason. For sure the Halos’ only route to the playoffs will be the wild card with the Rangers likely winning the AL West. Detroit could claim a wild card or the AL Central title as the Tigers trail the White Sox by a game in the division with the teams meeting for the final time starting Monday in a four-game series in Chicago. If either Detroit or L.A. is swept this weekend it could kill that team’s playoff hopes. It doesn’t hurt that the Tigers were good to me last week in sweeping Chicago as I predicted that series win as well as the “under” in two of the three games.
Because of the pitching matchups this weekend I think Detroit as a projected slight dog will be good value, and I generally try to search for a good underdog play in a series. The big reason I will pick the Tigers is because Angels ace Jered Weaver won’t go in Friday’s opener as scheduled. Weaver, who is blowing his Cy Young chances with some recent struggles, will miss the series after taking a comebacker off his pitching shoulder in his last outing Sunday in Seattle. He hasn’t thrown since then and left the team to head back to L.A. early to see a specialist on Wednesday. Reportedly it’s just tendinitis and he should return to the rotation next week.
This starts a crucial 10-game trip for the Tigers and is their final series west of the Central time zone. Detroit tends to play to its competition. It just swept the White Sox last weekend but before that was swept in Kansas City. And instead of building on that Chicago sweep, Detroit went and lost two of three at home vs. Cleveland to start this week. The Angels might be peaking at the right time. They just swept what had been red-hot Oakland and have won eight of their past nine.
Detroit leads the season series 5-2, with all seven games having come since the all-star break and all at Comerica Park. L.A. has scored three runs or less in five of the games but won one of them. Mike Trout is hitting .258 with 13 strikeouts in 31 at-bats vs. the Tigers this year. Albert Pujols missed the most recent three-game Tigers series but is hitting .400 with two homers and four RBI in 15 at-bats vs. Detroit. Tigers star Miguel Cabrera, the AL Player of the Month for August, is hitting .238 vs. the Angels this year but does have two homers.
Tigers at Angels Probable Starting Pitchers
Friday: Tigers RHP Max Scherzer (15-6, 3.93) vs. Angels RHP Ervin Santana (8-11, 5.32) – Scherzer has always had filthy stuff, but he has really figured it out. He is 7-1 with a 2.76 ERA since the break and 5-0 with a 1.03 ERA in his past five starts. Scherzer is 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA in two starts vs. the Angels. It appears Santana will be the guy to replace Weaver. Santana has been much better lately, going 4-1 with a 3.63 ERA over his past seven starts. He is 0-1 with a 4.15 ERA in two starts vs. Detroit.
Saturday: Tigers RHP Justin Verlander (13-7, 2.73) vs. Angels LHP C.J. Wilson (11-9, 3.85) – Verlander hadn’t won in his past four starts before beating the White Sox last time out in allowing the Pale Hose just one run and striking out 11 in eight innings. The Angels have avoided Verlander so far in 2012. Wilson hasn’t gone seven innings in his past 10 starts. After a 7.99 ERA in August, Wilson was mediocre in his September debut, beating Oakland by allowing two runs in five innings. Wilson gave up seven runs in six innings in his lone start vs. the Tigers this year.
Sunday: Tigers RHP Anibal Sanchez (7-11, 4.08) vs. Angels RHP Zack Greinke (13-5, 3.72) – Sanchez was a bit shaky when he first arrived in Detroit from the Marlins but has a 0.92 ERA in his past three starts. He hasn’t faced the Angels. Greinke also seems to have found his groove in the AL since a trade from the Brewers. He has allowed four earned runs over 21.2 innings in his past three starts. Greinke beat the Tigers on Aug. 24 as Detroit got just a run off him in 7.2 innings.
Tigers at Angels Betting Odds and Trends
For the series, I project L.A. around -110 with Detroit at Even, but a “pick’em” wouldn’t surprise me. For Game 1, both are at -105 with the total at 8.5. “Over/under” records: DET 27-36-2 on road, LAA 30-34-1 at home.
The Tigers have won their past five vs. teams with a winning record. They are 5-2 in their past seven following an off-day. But Detroit has won just two of its past seven road games vs. teams with a winning home record. The Tigers are 5-0 in Scherzer’s past five starts vs. teams with a winning record. The Angels have won their past four following an off-day. They are 6-1 in their past seven vs. right-handed starters. L.A. is 0-6 in its past six home games vs. teams with a winning record. The under is 14-3 in Detroit’s past 17 games. The over is 9-0 in L.A.’s past nine home games vs. right-handed starters. The under is 4-0-1 in the past five meetings.
MLB Picks: Tigers at Angels Betting Predictions
If Weaver was pitching I would take the Angels in the series because I believe that L.A. wins the finale behind Greinke. But I certainly don’t trust Santana in Weaver’s place, so take Detroit and the under in Game 1 and the Tigers to win two of three in the series.
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