The Detroit Tigers kept pace with the Cleveland Indians last night, thanks to a 4-2 victory against the Angels. The Indians did their part though, dispatching the Rangers in a big way. Things would have started to get interesting if the Tigers brought the division to within 3.5 games. It was just about a week ago where the lead was 7 games in favor of the Indians. The Indians have been up big this season, and the Tigers have closed the gap occasionally, but the Indians have never fallen behind.
The Tigers are chasing a wildcard too, so there is more than the Indians in their sights. They are currently 4.5 back of the Indians and only 1 of the Orioles. The Orioles are ripe for the taking, as they were the probable team in the American League East to fade back, while the Red Sox and Blue Jays battle it out for the division crown.
The Tigers will get Michael Fulmer tonight, who is coming off the worst start of his career. Fulmer got knocked around for 6 runs against the Red Sox, exiting after 5.2 innings pitched. Fulmer will look for redemption tonight against the Angels. The Tigers have won six in a row now, only to add to the up and down roller coaster ride they’ve been on over this season. It isn’t over yet, and it’s going to be interesting to see what transpires. The Tigers will face Brett Oberholtzer of the Angels this evening.
You might remember him best for his time with the Houston Astros. As an Astro, Oberholtzer had plenty of promise, posting a 2.76 ERA as a rookie, and then tailing off in his final two years, in 2014 and 2015 with the club. After his first go at it in the majors, it appeared that Oberholtzer was going to be a key figure of their future. However, since then he’s been with two different teams, the Phillies and Angels. Oberholtzer hasn’t spent much time as a starter, but he will get that opportunity tonight against the Tigers.
L.A. Angels vs. Detroit Tigers
Brett Oberholtzer (1-0, 9.00 ERA) vs. Michael Fulmer (10-4, 2.58 ERA)
It’s tough for young pitchers to not hit a wall every here and there, and Fulmer ran into that wall in his last outing. One bad start and there isn’t any cause for concern, but parlay that into three or four bad starts in a row, and people start questioning whether everything in the past was a fluke. The way this offense has been mashing the ball, Fulmer might just need an adequate effort to give the Tigers a win here. They’ve scored a whopping 39 runs in the last five games, for an average of 7.8 runs per game.
A great start from Fulmer would certainly be welcome, though. Despite the 6 runs he just allowed, he still has a nice looking ERA of 2.58. Although, if Fulmer is gunning for the Cy Young, he can’t have any more starts like that. Oberholtzer was blitzed for 6 runs in just 1.2 innings against the Indians in his first appearance with the Angels. He settled down in relief duty in the next two games. Oberholtzer hasn’t made a start this season, he was a reliever with the Phillies and the same with the Angels until today. I don’t know if it’s going to work out so well against the Tigers, a team who have been destroying the ball of late. It looks like a comfortable win for the Tigers, as they continue their chase of the Indians.
PICK: TIGERS -1.5 (+100)