Presumably the Detroit Tigers will honor retiring Red Sox DH David Ortiz either Saturday or Sunday at Comerica Park as this will be Ortiz's last time playing in the park barring a playoff matchup. The Tigers haven't won a World Series since 1984 but won the AL Central each year from 2011-14. I believe the best club in that stretch was the 2013 team. I also believe that if Detroit had beaten Boston that year in the ALCS it would have won the World Series over the Cardinals. And, finally, I believe the Tigers get to the Fall Classic if not for Ortiz. In Game 2 of the ALCS at Fenway Park and with the Tigers holding a 1-0 series lead, Detroit was up 5-1 entering the bottom of the eighth inning. With two outs and the bases loaded, the Tigers brought in reliever Joaquin Benoit to face Ortiz because Big Papi didn't have a good history against Benoit. First pitch: grand slam. That totally changed the series as Boston would win Game 2 and take the ALCS in six on the way to its most recent World Series title. The Tigers haven't gotten close to the Fall Classic since. So if you hear some boos in the stands at Comerica this weekend for Ortiz, you will know why.
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Mets at Giants (-145, 8)
Weird Saturday schedule this week as this is the only matinee, with a start time of 4:05 p.m. ET. It also should have live betting at sportsbooks with it nationally televised by Fox Sports 1. New York goes with Bartolo Colon here, and I'm more interested to see what he does at the plate in all honesty. Colon (10-7, 3.38) wasn't sharp in his last start, allowing five runs (two earned) and nine hits over four innings in a loss at Arizona. What Colon, one of the worst hitters in big-league history, did do was draw his first big-league walk, and it only took the 43-year-old 282 plate appearances. No other player in big-league history had appeared at the plate that many times without a walk. Colon hasn't faced the Giants this year. Hunter Pence is 6-for-11 off him with two homers and seven RBIs. Brandon Belt is 2-for-8 with a homer. Lefty Matt Moore (7-9, 4.14) makes his fourth start with the Giants since the trade from Tampa Bay and looking for his first win. He's 0-2 with a 4.50 ERA with San Francisco and hasn't faced the Mets this year. Yoenis Cespedes is 2-for-6 off him with a double.
Key trends: The Mets are 7-1 in Colon's past eight vs. teams with a winning record. The Giants are 4-0 in their past four on Saturday. The "over/under" has gone under in five of Colon's past six on the road.
Early lean: Giants and under.
Red Sox at Tigers (+115, 9.5)
This is shown on the MLB Network and is a matchup of southpaws. Boston's Drew Pomeranz (9-9, 2.99) was a bit shaky in his first few starts with the Red Sox after coming over from San Diego but has been much better in the past three. He won in Cleveland on Monday, allowing two runs and five hits over 7.2 innings, easily his longest start with Boston and his first win with the team. Pomeranz lost to the Tigers on July 25, allowing two runs and four hits over six innings. J.D. Martinez is 2-for-2 career off him with a double. Miguel Cabrera is 1-for-1 with two walks. Detroit's Daniel Norris (1-1, 3.47) lost to Kansas City on Monday, allowing two runs over 5.1 innings with four walks. He hasn't faced the Red Sox this year. Ortiz is 1-for-3 off him with a homer.
Key trends: The Sox are 9-3 in their past 12 vs. a lefty. The Tigers are 9-4 in their past 13 vs. a southpaw. The under is 4-1 in Pomeranz's past five. The under is 3-1-1 in Norris' past five at home.
Early lean: Red Sox and under.
Brewers at Mariners (-210, 7.5)
Lone interleague game of the weekend and the Brewers will add the designated hitter. With Ryan Braun banged up a bit (knee, ankle), I could see him playing there. The Brewers were hoping to activate surprising 31-year-old rookie Junior Guerra (7-3, 2.93) off the DL to start here, but he instead will throw in the bullpen Friday and target next week. Nice break for Seattle as it's terrible Wily Peralta (5-8, 6.00) instead. Although Peralta does come off a good outing vs. Cincinnati, allowing one run and four hits in a win. Peralta hasn't faced the Mariners this year. Adam Lind is 2-for-3 career off him with a double. Nelson Cruz is 0-for-2. The Mariners go with Felix Hernandez (7-4, 3.34). He won at the Angels on Monday, allowing two runs and four hits over 6.2 innings. He is 3-0 with a 4.12 ERA in six starts since returning from a two-month DL stint. King Felix hasn't faced Milwaukee since 2013 when he threw eight scoreless innings. Braun hasn't seen him. Jonathan Villar is 0-for-7. Chris Carter is 3-for-11 with five strikeouts.
Key trends: The Brewers are 2-5 in Peralta's past seven on the road. The Mariners are 5-2 in Hernandez's past seven at home. The under is 8-2-1 in Hernandez's past 11 following a quality start in his most recent appearance.
Early lean: Mariners and under.
Nationals at Braves (+225, 7.5)
Not a whole lot for Atlanta fans to see on their rather anonymous team these days, but it was a pretty big deal when last year's No. 1 overall pick, shortstop Dansby Swanson, debuted on Wednesday night with two hits against the Twins. Swanson took just 397 days from being signed (July 17, 2015) to getting promoted to the majors, the third-shortest amount of time since 2000. Swanson was the fastest No. 1 overall pick to reach the majors since Darin Erstad in 1995. Swanson was part of that package coming over from Arizona this past offseason for Shelby Miller, perhaps the most lopsided trade this decade if not longer. Swanson certainly didn't see anyone in the minors like Washington's Max Scherzer (12-7, 2.95). He had some issues in Denver last time out, however, allowing four runs and seven hits in four innings. That was Scherzer's shortest outing of the season, but Coors Field will do that to guys. He is 1-0 with a 4.15 ERA in two starts this year vs. Atlanta. The Braves' Tyrell Jenkins (2-3, 4.89) was shelled in Washington by these Nationals last Sunday, allowing seven runs over 4.2 innings. Anthony Rendon is 1-for-2 with a homer and four RBIs off him.
Key trends: The Nationals are 4-0 in Scherzer's past four on the road. The under is 8-1 in his past nine.
Early lean: Nationals and under.
Yankees at Angels (-123, 9)
Latest-starting game of the night, also on the MLB Network and not exactly an awe-inspiring pitching matchup. It will be the first big-league start for New York rookie Luis Cessa. He has pitched 18.2 innings of relief this season with the Yankees and is 2-0 with a 5.30 ERA. Cessa was last on the mound last Sunday vs. Tampa Bay and allowed five runs in three innings. Cessa, who has never faced the Angels, takes the rotation spot of Nathan Eovaldi, who already has been ruled out for all of next season due to major elbow surgery. He won't pitch for the Yankees again as they will surely non-tender Eovaldi this offseason. Los Angeles has lost all three starts by Ricky Nolasco (4-10, 5.13) since he came over from the Twins. Nolasco allowed three runs and eight hits over 5.1 innings last time out vs. Seattle. Guy is not a good pitcher but he did fare well against the Yankees while with the Twins on June 18, allowing two runs with no walks over seven innings in a no-decision. New York shortstop Didi Gregorius kills Nolasco, going 10-for-19 with three doubles. Brian McCann hits .323 off him with eight homers and 24 RBIs in 65 at-bats.
Key trends: The Yankees are 1-4 in their past five on Saturday. The Angels are 5-16 in their past 21 vs. a right-hander. The over is 5-1 in the Yankees' past six in Game 2 of a series.
Early lean: Way over! Go Angels.
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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