The Detroit Tigers continue a nice stay at home with a series against the Philadelphia Phillies. The Tigers are fresh off a weekend series against the Tampa Bay Rays at home. It’s too early to say what is going to come of the Tigers. I always say baseball fans are the most fickle fans in sports, I suppose all fans in every sport, are to an extent. However, when you have as many games as the MLB has, more are going to come of the woodwork. One week the entire fan base is down on them, and then a few wins later, the perception is oh no the losing streak was just a funk. Players get criticized in baseball pretty heavily, one night you’re the hero, the next you’re everyone is cursing at you on social media.
The Tigers have faced plenty of criticism as they sit below the .500 mark in 2016. That isn’t where you want to be when you have a fully stacked payroll. There have been signs of this offense coming around though, and a lot of players on the roster, notably Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez are known as hot weather hitters. The offense in Detroit has notoriously been slow starters, but the offense isn’t what worries me as we move into the summer months.
The pitching won’t be able to hold the fort down. Mike Pelfrey? Ick. Every time I look at Pelfrey in the starting rotation for the Tigers I cringe. I think of how stacked this rotation was not too long ago. Doug Fister, Justin Verlander (in his prime), Max Scherzer, Anibal Sanchez. After that rotation dissipated, expectations of them getting back to the World Series sort of faded in a way. In any event, the Tigers spent money in the offseason to stay in the picture. But with the Tigers, I see them just throwing money at a wall and hoping it sticks. I never like that philosophy, and it hasn’t worked out for them thus far.
Philadelphia Phillies vs. Detroit Tigers
Vince Velasquez (5-1, 2.42 ERA) vs. Mike Pelfrey (0-4, 5.49 ERA)
Vince Velasquez has been a good story for the Phillies this season. In what is otherwise has been a surprise somewhat for the Phillies, Velasquez has handled the weight and is responsible for this solid start for the Phillies. A team pegged as one of the worst in baseball at the start of the season are above .500 and playing decent baseball. Velasquez comes into Monday with a quality ERA of 2.42 and 0.99 WHIP. The 23-year-old comes over from the Houston Astros after seven starts with them as a rookie in 2015, finishing with a 4.37 ERA. The ‘Stros might be kicking themselves if Velasquez pans out. Remember, this is the same team that departed with J.D. Martinez who went on to hit everything in sight with the Tigers.
He faces a stingy test against the Tigers and Cubs this week. His talent will be tested. The weather is starting to get nice in Detroit and I imagine the bats will be nice as well. Cabrera has started to erupt, and when his bat is in order, the Tigers’ offense can drop runs with the best of them. I think they may give Velasquez a rude welcome to Detroit on Monday. However, Pelfrey really scares me, he could get blown up at any moment. He had a pretty nice start against the Twins last start, but that is the Twins, after all. The smart play here might be on the OVER.
PICK: OVER 8 RUNS (-110)