Brad Ausmus has to be feeling the pressure in Detroit at this point in the season. The Tigers got off to a hot start, but have really fallen back since then. Fall under .500 and I feel that his fate might get shaky in Detroit. Probably not immediately, but if the Tigers play .500 baseball for the rest of the year with the lineup they have, somebody has to be accountable for that. However, I don’t think it will get that bad for the Tigers. While things are bad currently, baseball is of course a long season and I imagine they’ll turn it around. Nevertheless, that may not be enough to fulfill what their goal is, and that is to win the World Series. Anything less than that is a failure for the Tigers. I see them having a small window to have a legitimate shot of making that happen in the next two or three years. Injuries to players like Victor Martinez, who was a big part of their offense, hasn’t helped them out much. That is a pretty big bat to lose for the Tigers. Martinez has been the most consistent fixture in the offense next to Miguel Cabrera. There is currently no timetable for his return to the lineup.
The Tigers welcome a familiar opponent to Comerica Park tonight. An opponent that has taken a nosedive this season. The Athletics are also a team that the Tigers have played extremely well against, even when the A’s were at their best. Notably, has been their meetings in the postseason, with the Tigers always coming out ahead. It is like the Chicago Blackhawks and Minnesota Wild of the NHL. The Blackhawks have had their number for the last three seasons in the playoffs. Likewise, the Tigers have had immense success against the Athletics. The pitching matchup tonight looks to be a mismatch, but we’ll see how things unfold tonight in downtown Detroit at Comerica Park. Note that I ended up having no pick yesterday as a result of the rain out in Boston.
Oakland Athletics vs. Detroit Tigers
Kendall Graveman (2-2, 5.79 ERA) vs. Alfredo Simon (5-2, 2.67 ERA)
Tigers’ pitcher Justin Verlander has been getting some work with simulated games and rehab stints. In his most recent rehab start, there were indications that Verlander was having issues with his control. The loss of Verlander has been a sting to the Tigers, along with the abovementioned offensive injuries. The emergency of Alfredo Simon in the Tigers’ rotation has alleviated some of the pain of losing Verlander, as well as losing Max Scherzer to free agency. But still, the Tigers can’t rely on Buck Farmer, they really need Verlander to come back strong. Simon has been doing his job though, posting a 2.67 ERA and has been dishing of late with a 1.67 ERA in his last three tilts. He allowed just 3 runs during that stretch. Additionally, he has a stellar ERA at home of 0.94. Simon also holds a 0.94 WHIP and .243.
We faded Kendall Graveman in his last start against the Yankees. He held up decent in that start, but can we expect two in a row for Graveman? He allowed 3 runs, which is about the best you can expect out of him. Graveman still possess an ERA of 5.79 with a 4.96 in his last three games pitched despite beating the Yankees. I think this game looks like a good opportunity for the Tigers to get back on track against the Athletics. The A’s have been dismal on the road of late, yielding a 3-9 record in their last twelve games on the road. They are also 3-7 against the Tigers in their last 10 meetings. The Tigers have been cold, but this price seems to be a little too low. I expect them to snap their four-game skid at home, and take advantage of Graveman in this matchup tonight.
PICK: TIGERS TO WIN -137