Tigers at Mariners Picks and MLB Betting Odds
by Alan Matthews - 4/17/2013
The Seattle Mariners were almost comically bad offensively the past four seasons, sitting at the bottom of the American League in runs all four years and easily totaling the fewest of any major-league team overall in that span.
Some blamed expansive Safeco Field for the Mariners' lack of punch, and the team did indeed move the fences in for this season. The Seattle pitchers probably weren't too happy about that. In all 13 full seasons since Safeco opened prior to this season, Seattle has had a much lower ERA at home than on the road. The biggest discrepancy came last year when the M's had a 2.96 ERA at home (No. 2 in the American League) and 4.59 on the road (ninth in AL).
But really, a large chunk of blame had to go to the Mariners front office as it had failed to develop any home-run hitters. And it sure seemed like any potential top free-agent hitters passed on joining the Mariners, presumably because they didn't want to see their numbers go down. Thus, Seattle GM Jack Zduriencik had to get aggressive this offseason and he did, acquiring outfielder Michael Morse from the Nationals and first baseman/DH Kendrys Morales from the Angels. Morse, a former Mariner, hit .291 with 18 home runs and 62 RBI last year in an injury-shortened season with the Nats. He was made expendable when Washington re-signed Adam LaRoche. Morales hit .273 with 22 homers and 73 RBI with the Halos and was made expendable when L.A. signed Josh Hamilton.
So far, the additions have helped. Seattle is No. 6 in the AL in runs entering Tuesday's action and No. 4 in homers. Morse has been very good, hitting .293 with six homers and nine RBI. He has been out since last Thursday with a minor break in his right pinkie but was expected to return Tuesday. Morales has started slowly, batting .261 with a homer and six RBI. The Mariners aren't good average-wise, however. No regular is above .300, and the team is second-to-last in the AL in average. Look for the team to call up top catching prospect Mike Zunino in June. The No. 3 overall pick in the 2012 draft is rated as one of the Top 15 prospects in baseball and has four homers and 18 RBI in nine games at Triple-A Tacoma. The Mariners have future financial reasons for not starting Zunino's major-league service time clock until mid-June.
Wednesday's game with the Tigers is the second of a three-game set and Detroit's lone visit of the season to the Pacific Northwest.
Tigers at Mariners Betting Story Lines
The Tigers rather surprisingly aren't hitting a bunch of homers yet -- ranking No. 12 in the AL entering Tuesday -- but aren't having a problem scoring runs. They lead AL by a wide margin in average and trail only Oakland in runs. Prince Fielder might be the AL MVP so far (I liked him for the home run crown in the spring), hitting an MLB-best .429 with four homers and 19 RBI. Reigning Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera has been quiet for him, hitting .320 with a homer and 13 knocked in. DH Victor Martinez has struggled after missing all of last year, batting .146 with no homers and four RBI.
Detroit -- the Bovada World Series favorite at 7/1 -- looks stacked just about everywhere except closer. The team was hoping fire-balling rookie Bruce Rondon would hold down the job, but he struggled in the spring and was sent down (he has been good in Triple-A). The team was so desperate it re-signed Jose "Papa Grande" Valverde, a disaster late last season, to a minor-league deal. Joaquin Benoit appears to be the ninth-inning guy for now, although he has yet to record a save. The Tigers have blown three saves, tied with Boston for the most in the AL.
Expect plenty of strikeouts on Wednesday night as the Tigers throw Max Scherzer, who led MLB-eligible pitchers in strikeouts per nine innings last year, against Mariners ace Felix Hernandez. Scherzer (1-0, 4.09 ERA) wasn't good in his first start but was very much so in his second (against Oakland) and has 18 strikeouts in 11 innings. He faced the M's once last year, allowing 10 hits and five runs in five innings in a loss. Morse has a homer in three at-bats against Scherzer.
Hernandez (1-2, 3.05) has been pretty mediocre in his past two starts, allowing eight runs and 16 hits in 13 innings after a brilliant Opening Day start against Oakland. He's looking for career win No. 100. King Felix's velocity is down this year. He beat the Tigers in his lone start against them in 2012, giving up one run and four hits in seven innings. Cabrera is hitting .429 off Hernandez in 21 at-bats but hasn't homered.
Tigers at Mariners MLB Betting Odds and Trends
At BetOnline, the Mariners are -121 and the Tigers +111 with the total at 6.5. All trends entering Tuesday: The Tigers are 8-3-1 “over/under” (3-3) on road and 7-5 on the runline. The Mariners are 6-7-1 O/U (2-4-1 at home) and 7-7 on the runline.
Detroit is 5-1 in its past six vs. a righty starter. The Tigers are 7-1 in Scherzer's past eight starts vs. a team with a losing record. Detroit is 6-1 in his last seven road starts vs. a team with a losing record. It is 11-5 in Scherzer's past 16 starts overall. The Mariners are 1-8 in Hernandez's past nine starts. They are 0-5 in his past five home starts and 0-6 in its past six vs. teams with a winning record. The under is 5-1-1 in Scherzer's past seven road starts. The under is 4-0-2 in Hernandez's past six starts in Game 2 of a series. Seattle is 4-0 in Hernandez's past four starts against Detroit. The over is 6-2 in the past eight meetings overall.
Tigers at Mariners Picks and Betting Predictions
Sometimes teams always fare well against another, no matter the strength of the clubs in a particular year. Seattle has stunk lately but has had the Tigers' number, winning five of six last year and 10 of the past 13. Detroit has totaled just 41 runs in those 13. This is one of those where I love the total much more -- the under -- than the moneyline. Since I'm not sure Hernandez is 100 percent right, take the Tigers.
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