Tigers at Indians Picks and MLB Betting Odds
by Alan Matthews - 5/22/2013
Do you think the Boston Red Sox are looking at what's going on in Cleveland right now and regretting letting Manager Terry Francona go after the 2011 season? Not that John Farrell isn't doing a fine job in Beantown (Bobby Valentine certainly didn't last year), but Francona is working miracles with the Tribe as they are the hottest team in baseball and lead the American League Central over the presumed World Series-favorite Detroit Tigers.
Cleveland was 8-13 on April 28 after losing the first game of a doubleheader in Kansas City. Now the Indians are 26-17 entering Tuesday's series opener with the visiting Tigers. The Tribe just swept Seattle four games over the weekend and also swept Oakland four games two weeks prior. Monday's 10-8 win over the Mariners was epic. Yan Gomes hit a pair of home runs, including a three-run game-winner in the bottom of the 10th. It was Cleveland's third walkoff win in the series, the first time since 1992 that the Indians had three walkoff victories in one series. Cleveland also became the first MLB team since 1996 to rally to win after its opponent scored a game-tying or go-ahead run in each of its last three turns at-bat.
The Tigers enter this series having lost four of five. Their only series win in the past four was against Houston, which doesn't even count.
Tigers at Indians Betting Story Lines
How's this for a stat: The Indians are 7-1 this year against pitchers who have won a Cy Young Award. The number will come in handy on Wednesday night in Game 2 when the Tigers' Justin Verlander (4-4, 3.17 ERA) takes the mound. The 2011 Cy Young winner started the season as brilliantly as ever but has been hit around his last two times out. He was totally bombed by the Rangers on Thursday, allowing eight runs and six hits in 2.2 innings. It was Verlander's shortest outing in nearly three years. He had allowed just four earned runs in four previous starts at Rangers Ballpark. The start before that had been Verlander's worst this year as he allowed four runs and six hits while walking five in five innings of a 7-6 loss to Cleveland. He has faced the Tribe 31 times, his most against any foe, and is 14-14 with a 4.57 ERA. Nick Swisher has three career home runs off Verlander but also has struck out 20 times in 56 at-bats. Michael Brantley is hitting .423 in 26 at-bats off Verlander.
Cleveland starts Ubaldo Jimenez (3-2, 5.31) on Wednesday. He has never been the same since an electric first half of the 2010 season with the Colorado Rockies. Jimenez might be getting his groove, back, however. He struggled in his first four starts of this year but has allowed a combined five earned runs over his past four after making some adjustments to his mechanics. His ERA has practically been cut in half. Jimenez faced Detroit on May 11 and held the Tigers to a run and just three hits while striking out eight over six innings.
If it's possible, the Tigers' Miguel Cabrera is hitting even better this season than he did while winning the Triple Crown in 2012. He leads the majors by a wide margin in batting average and RBI. I never thought another Triple Crown was possible -- Rogers Hornsby and Ted Williams are the only players to do it twice but never in back-to-back years -- because Cabrera wasn't hitting many homers. That has changed. And thanks to Cabrera's three-homer game Sunday against Texas, he's now just two out of the AL lead entering Tuesday's action. His .387 batting average and 47 RBI through 42 games entering Tuesday are the best ever by a reigning Triple Crown winner through 42, and only Jimmie Foxx, Chuck Klein, and Frank Robinson had more homers than Cabrera's 11. He has had success against Jimenez, hitting .342 with a homer and six RBI in 38 career at-bats. Victor Martinez is hitting .333 with two homers and six RBI off Jimenez.
Cleveland leads the season series 2-1 after winning last year's 10-8.
Tigers at Indians MLB Betting Odds and Trends
At BetOnline, the Tigers opened at -158 and the Indians +148 with the total at 8. All trends entering Tuesday: The Tigers are 26-15-1 (12-10 on road) and 21-21 on the runline. Cleveland is 21-19-3 “over/under” (13-9-1 at home) and 20-23 on the runline.
Detroit is 5-2 in its past seven Game 2s of a series. The Tigers are 2-7 in their past nine Wednesday games. They are 5-0 in Verlander's past five starts following an outing of four innings or fewer in his last appearance. Detroit is 2-5 in Verlander's past seven road starts against teams with a winning record. The Indians are 7-0 in their past seven home games against righty starters. Cleveland is 5-0 in Jimenez's past five starts but 2-8 in his past 10 in Game 2 of a series. The over is 5-0 in Verlander's past five starts vs. teams with a winning record. The over is 5-0-1 in Jimenez's past six starts vs. teams with a winning record. The under is 5-1-1 in Verlander's past seven starts in Cleveland. The Indians are 5-2 in Jimenez's past seven vs. Detroit.
Tigers at Indians Picks and Betting Predictions
I really don't know how the Tribe are No. 4 in runs and lead the majors in slugging. You look at that lineup and nothing much jumps out at you. Mark Reynolds has 12 homers and 37 RBI but is a strikeout machine. Detroit, on the other hand, leads the majors in runs, batting average and on-base percentage, and it's pretty evident why. The Tigers do miss center fielder and leadoff hitter Austin Jackson, who won't return from the disabled list until this weekend.
I find it hard to imagine that Verlander has a third straight subpar start. He says he is 100 percent healthy and his velocity is still there. Verlander's control has been a tad off. He bounces back in a big way Wednesday. Take the Tigers and the under. I do like the Tribe at -115 on the runline.
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