The wins just keep on coming as our red-hot July continues! We picked up another win last night when we backed the Oakland Athletics against the Texas Rangers as underdogs. I mentioned in my pick that I expected this game to be high scoring. The inflated ten and a half run game total scared me off of taking a double dip win off this game though, and in the end, it went WAY over. I was shocked to see the Rangers as favorites in this one as the A’s have been one of the best teams in baseball most of the seasons and are playing great right now.
Rangers starter Cole Hamels is expected to be traded away shortly, and he certainly isn’t helping his cause much as he has been really bad over the course of the last six or seven weeks. This was the third time in a month that he has gotten brutalized for seven runs in a start. To see him as a favorite against this Oakland team that can really swing a heavy bat just didn’t feel right and we took full advantage of it. The A’s pounded out fifteen runs and won the game going away.
My formula for success has been a simple one recently. Bet the A’s as underdogs and cash tickets. This team is now fifteen games over .500 on the year and are 12-5 in the month of July. At some point, the books and the public are going to pick up on this trend and start valuing them correctly. But if last night’s line is any indication of things to come, they were underdogs against a last place team, we certainly have a little longer to ride this gravy train before it runs dry. For today’s pick I will take a look at the game between the Detroit Tigers and Kansas City Royals.
The Detroit Tigers are in Kansas City Tuesday for game two of a three-game series against the Royals. The Tigers took game one last night 5-4, in dramatic fashion as they scored three runs in the ninth to steal game one. Both of these teams are out of contention at this point. However, the Royals are trying to manage to not lose at a historic rate as they are at a .303 winning percentage on the year, second worst in the major leagues.
Starting tonight for the Tigers is Jordan Zimmerman (4-1 3.71 ERA), and for the Royals, it is Burch Smith (0-1 5.98 ERA). The Tigers are -112 road favorites. The game total over-under is set at nine runs. First pitch is scheduled for 5:15 PM PST from Kaufman Stadium in Kansas City.
When two teams are out of contention and playing poorly, it is easy to use some false equivalency and just say they are both bad teams. But that wouldn’t be doing your full homework. Are both the Tigers and the Royals bad? Absolutely. But are they the same level of bad? No way. This Detroit Tigers team is eleven and a half games better than the Royals are right now, so while they are both bad, you want to make sure that you are differentiating between just run of the mill bad, and awful.
One guy that has actually been pretty good since getting healthy is Tiger’s starter, Jordan Zimmerman. Zimmerman had a slow start to the year but has been quite good since getting fully healthy. Zimmerman missed six full weeks with a sore shoulder and has shown some renewed velocity since returning to the Tigers rotation. In his last four starts, Zimmerman has an ERA hovering right around the two-run mark.
In his one start against the Royals this year, Zimmerman was great as he threw five shutout innings on just two hits and the Tigers won easily. Historically Zimmerman is actually the best current active pitcher against the Royals in KC. In six career starts, he is 4-0 with a 1.36 ERA. Zimmerman certainly likes pitching in Kaufman Stadium, and I expect that to continue tonight as the Royals are dead last in the majors in both runs scored and home runs. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say this is the worst hitting lineup in the major leagues right now.
Royals starter Burch Smith is a guy that would only be starting for a team like this year’s Royals that have clearly given up. The guy just stinks. He has been used in mostly mop-up duty this year as the Royals have lost in twenty-two of the twenty-six games he has appeared in, including both of his starts. That is a staggering amount of losing for one guy to handle. You Boston Celtics fans might remember a player named Brian Scalabrine. They called him the human victory cigar as he only got to play when the Celtics were blowing a team out. Well, Burch Smith is the human white flag, if this guy is in the game, the Royals are giving up.
This is a blowout situation. I don’t see the Royals scoring much at all tonight against Zimmerman. Partially because Zimmerman is pitching great right now, and partially because the Royals are just terrible at the plate this year. I would consider jumping on the run line, but it is only offering just over fifty cents of premium, and the Tigers offense scares me a little too much to lay the run line at that weak of a price. So, I will just back the Tigers at the very reasonable number of -112 and feel like I am certainly getting the best of it tonight. Give me the Detroit Tigers as small road favorites tonight in Kansas City!