Going after a big underdog might not be the safest way to snap a tough losing skid, but there are a few value plays on the board tonight I have my eye on. Let’s make this week a better one than the last…
Meanwhile, elsewhere in MLB action yesterday, things continue to get interesting in the AL Central with the Royals closing to just a half-game behind the Tigers. I still think it’s a bit early to get too excited in KC, but if they were to overtake the Tigers and possibly even push them out of the Playoffs altogether after their blockbuster acquisition of David Price, it would have to be one of the more epic fails in recent baseball memory.
Let’s get rolling today with a pair of picks.
Today’s Free Picks:
Toronto Blue Jays at Seattle Mariners (Total: 6.5)
Drew Hutchison (8-9, 4.39 ERA) vs. Felix Hernandez (12-3, 1.97 ERA)
The Blue Jays won a marathon 19 inning affair against the Tigers yesterday to win the series, so there could be some possible fatigue, though it should be mitigated by the fact if was a day game. They’ll still get plenty of rest and I don’t expect any hangover tonight.
Plus, stepping into the box against King Felix should be enough to get anyone’s full attention. Felix enters tonight with an ERA under 2.00 and has been pitching his way to another possible Cy Young Award. However, things haven’t been so rosy against the Blue Jays in the King’s career; he is 4-5 with a 4.58 ERA in 11 career starts against the Jays and has been dreadful against them in Safeco Field, going 0-2 with a 10.80 ERA in three career outings.
Can Hutchinson keep the Mariners at bay and give the heavy underdog a shot to win? I think he can. The 23-year old is fresh off a 8 2/3 inning, one hit, one run outing where he struck out eight batters.
It’s a bit of a longshot odds wise, but it’s a great value at +190. I’ll take the Jays to continue their unlikely dominance against Felix tonight in the late game in Seattle.
Detroit Tigers -111 at Pittsburgh Pirates +101 (Total: 7.5)
Justin Verlander vs. Jeff Locke
It isn’t technically an underdog, but I’m taking Verlander and the Tigers in today’s bonus pick. Yes, Verlander hasn’t been 2011 Verlander this season, but his last three starts have been a little closer. He has posted a 2.86 ERA and looked strong.
Jeff Locke is following last year’s pattern on a more condensed timeline; great start, tough close. This year he returned from the DL around the All-Star Break and looked great. However, he has put up a 6.16 ERA and a WHIP of 1.58 over his last three starts (1-2 record).
Look for the Tigers to vent some frustration from a tough series loss to the Jays over the weekend. I like them at a near-flat line tonight.