Tigers at Twins Picks and Betting Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 6/15/2013
It's starting to happen. The Detroit Tigers are indeed taking control of the American League Central as everyone expected back in the spring. The Chicago White Sox? They led the division much of last year but have been a massive disappointment and sit in last. The Kansas City Royals? They were finally supposed to contend but are below .500, although the hiring of George Brett as hitting coach seems to have helped things. The Cleveland Indians? Red hot in May but have cooled off considerably and have too many hitters who are streaky.
As for Saturday's Tigers opponent, the Twins, well not much was expected of them, and they are delivering, well below .500 and fourth in the division. But the Twins have a good farm system and some potential trade chips -- Justin Morneau? Kevin Correia? -- to add more prospects. They shouldn't be down too much longer. Detroit is a massive -2500 favorite on Sportsbook.ag to win the Central. They will win it barring an injury to Justin Verlander or Miguel Cabrera.
Tigers at Twins Betting Story Lines
All stats are entering Friday. Detroit enters this series with a 4.5-game lead over Cleveland atop the division and with the second-best run differential in the majors behind St. Louis. I could definitely see a Tigers-Cardinals World Series rematch of 2006 (and 1968). That World Series matchup is +1400 on Sportsbook.ag.
What do St. Louis and Detroit have in common? Well, excellent pitching is one. The Tigers have had a mind-boggling 18 quality starts in their past 19 games yet are just 10-9 in that stretch. Hard to believe that an offense with Cabrera could lose that many games. Detroit has lost two 1-0 games in extra innings in that stretch (both to the Pirates) and three more when allowing only three runs. It's definitely time to worry about Tigers closer Jose Valverde. He was great early last year with Detroit and then imploded late in the year. To the point no one wanted him as a free agent this winter until the Tigers signed him after the season started because their closer situation was unstable. "Papa Grande" started off well but has been shaky of late. He allowed a two-run homer in the ninth inning on Thursday against Kansas City to blow his third save in 12 chances. It was the fifth home run Valverde has allowed in his last six outings; he allowed three all of last regular season. Yeah, I think Detroit will be looking for a closer before the July 31 trade deadline. Detroit's bullpen overall is 4-12 with and eight blown saves. The Tigers have suffered six walk-off losses, tied for the most in the majors.
Detroit might not need its bullpen on Saturday with right-hander Anibal Sanchez (6-5, 2.65) on the mound. He was scratched from his last start with back stiffness but apparently is fine. He was the first Tiger to miss a start this year for health reasons. Sanchez was one of the best pitchers in the American League for much of the season, but in two of his past four starts he allowed five earned runs in each. He's allowed only three homers all year. One of his best starts of 2013 came May 24 in Detroit against the Twins (I say one of best because he also had a 17-strikeout game). He pitched a complete-game one-hitter, striking out 12. The no-hitter was broken up on Joe Mauer's single with one out in the ninth inning. It was the fourth one-hitter of Sanchez's career, and he did have a no-no in 2006. Sanchez also pitched in Minnesota on April 3 and blanked the Twins on two hits over five innings. Mauer is one of the few Twins to have any success off Sanchez, hitting .417 in 12 at-bats.
Minnesota goes with righty Samuel Deduno (2-1, 3.47). He has been very good in his past three starts, allowing just three earned runs over 18 innings. Deduno was not good May 24 in Detroit, allowing six earned runs and nine hits over 5.1 innings opposite Sanchez. Cabrera is 2-for-8 with three RBI in his career of Deduno. Andy Dirks is 6-for-10 with three extra-base hits off him. He hasn't played since Tuesday because of sore knees but is expected to go Saturday. Center fielder and leadoff man Austin Jackson was due to return Friday after missing more than a month with a hamstring injury.
Tigers at Twins MLB Betting Odds and Trends
At BetOnline, the Tigers opened as -158 favorites with the Twins at +148 and a total of 8. All trends entering Friday: Detroit is 35-28-1 “over/under” (16-16 on road) and 31-33 on the runline. Minnesota is 28-34-1 O/U (14-16 at home) and 36-27 on the runline.
The Tigers are 7-2 in their past nine Game 2s. Detroit is 0-4 in Sanchez's past four road starts. The Tigers are 2-5 in their past seven road games against a right-handed starter. The Twins are 5-1 in their past six home games against a right-handed starter. They are 4-1 in their past five Saturday games. Minnesota is 6-2 in Deduno's past eight starts. The Twins are 0-6 in Deduno's past six starts against a team with a winning record. The under is 7-0 in Detroit's past seven against a team with a losing record. The under is 8-3-1 in Sanchez's past 12 road starts. The under is 6-2-1 in Deduno's past nine starts. The under is 4-0 in Sanchez's past four against the Twins.
Tigers at Twins Picks and Betting Predictions
Detroit leads the season series 6-4 entering Friday. I always try to jump on home dogs when possible, but it's pretty clear that the Twins can't solve Sanchez. Jackson's return makes that Tigers lineup all the better. Take Detroit and the under. I would take the Twins on the runline, however, as Detroit hasn't been a great road team.
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