The Kansas City Royals are in Detroit for game two of a three game series with the Tigers. The Royals took game one last night after building a 5-0 lead early and barely hanging on for a 7-6 win. First basemen Eric Hosmer led the way for the Royals with a homer and three RBI. Game two will feature the Royals All-Star pitcher, Jason Vargas (14-9 3.87 ERA), squaring off against the Tigers punching bag Anibal Sanchez (3-3 6.95 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 4:10 PM PST from Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan.
Today’s MLB Pick:
Kansas City Royals(68-68) at Detroit Tigers (58-79)
Jason Vargas was one of the best pitchers in the first half of the season and was rightfully selected as an American League All-Star. Vargas was 12-3 at the All-Star break and looked like he was on his way to a twenty-win season. Two months later? He sits at 14-9, having only won two games since the break. It has not been the kind of production the Royals needed from him, and they are starting to slip into obscurity as they are sliding down the standings in the chase for the American League wild card.
It’s not that Vargas has been all that bad over the last month, he has been his usual serviceable self with the occasional blow-up game mixed in. The Royals badly need a good game from Vargas today if they are going to stay in the hunt for a playoff spot. Luckily for Vargas, he will be facing off against a badly depleted lineup today in Detroit.
J.D Martinez had a whopping four home runs yesterday! Justin Upton is swinging a solid bat at the cleanup spot, and Justin Verlander is starting tonight in Seattle. The problem for Detroit? They are all doing it for other teams. The Tigers unloaded all kinds of talent this year in trades and blew up the core of what was once a very good team. The recent cuts have opened up close to $100 million in payroll for Detroit, so don’t expect them to sit back and be stingy in the offseason as they look to rebuild.
Unfortunately, these savvy moves towards the future are doing nothing for this current team, and they are struggling to stay competitive at this point. Since dumping Verlander and Upton, the Tigers are 0-5 and have been outscored 36-11, they are getting blown out as their bad starting rotation, and embarrassing bullpen can’t keep anyone in the park. This has been the case all year, but at least before the Tigers had the firepower in the lineup to compete, they don’t have that anymore. You can expect a lot of picks against Detroit over the next several weeks as I don’t see them winning much down the stretch. Tonight’s start Anibal Sanchez hasn’t been doing a lot to help the cause recently either.
Sanchez might be the worst starter in the American League this year. He has bounced around between the bullpen and the rotation and has been getting hammered no matter where he is pitching out of. Only a team as bad as Detroit would consider starting a pitcher throwing as bad as Sanchez is right now. His ERA of almost seven is amongst the worst in the league for starting pitchers. He was even worse in August as he had an ERA of 9.50 in his four starts and has been getting blown off the field. In his last start against the Royals on July 26th Sanchez got bombed for 9 hits and 4 earned runs in just 3.2 innings in a loss. I have no reason to suspect he will be any better today against a motivated Royals team.
This is a classic early September baseball matchup. You have the Royals that are scratching and clawing to win every game, desperately trying to stay in the hunt for the playoffs, and you have a team in Detroit that is bragging about cutting $100 million in payroll. At this point, the Tigers could care less if they win and the fact that they are still trotting Anibal Sanchez out there every five days proves that point. Yes, Vargas has been shaky the last two months, but he hasn’t been awful, and the long-time veteran knows how to pitch down the stretch and get his team a win when they need one. I am very selective when I am taking a run line and this one doesn’t offer as much value as I would like as it’s only giving us about 50 cents on the number but that is because the books know that Sanchez is going to get rocked. So, I am jumping on the Royals on the run line tonight in Detroit at +125. There are just too many signals pointing to the Tigers getting blown out. Give me the road team on the run line tonight in Detroit!
PICK: Royals -1.5 runs at +125