The Royals and Tigers get things started on Thursday afternoon at Comerica. The Royals made easy work of the Tigers yesterday, kicking them in the gut for a 8-2 win. Nothing has been going the Tigers way, and at this point, Brad Ausmus may be on borrowed time. I don’t expect the Tigers to pull the cord on him mid-season, but if the rest of the year unfolds like it’s going now, I don’t see the Tigers having any excuses to keep him around.
Al Avila should be feeling a little nervous as well. A lot of the energy and passion we saw from the Tigers some years ago is gone. I think a lot of it expired when Jim Leyland retired and Ausmus was bright in to be the Tigers next manager. It’s not all his fault, but I don’t like the body language I see from the Tigers.
Much of the blame can be put on GM, Al Avila, too. He comes off as hesitant to make critical decisions. Dave Dombrowski left for Boston in 2015 and he left a dent in them as well. Between Anibal Sanchez and Jordan Zimmermann, the Tigers are paying out 17% of their payroll to them. That’s a considerable number. What kind of results have the gotten from Sanchez or Zimmermann? Zilch. Sanchez can’t even hold up in the minors.
Michael Fulmer is taking in just 0.27% of the payroll, and is bringing in more value to the ball club than those two are combined. Fulmer will get the start this afternoon against the Royals. Fulmer has been a solid option for the Tigers in 2017, but we don’t see the same dominance that he exuded when he came up to the majors. Much of his issues have come at home, where he’s had some problems with control. Rookie Jake Junis will start opposite Fulmer. Get our free Royals vs. Tigers MLB betting pick below.
K.C. Royals vs. Detroit Tigers Pick
Jake Junis (2-1, 4.97 ERA) vs. Michael Fulmer (6-6, 3.29 ERA)
Like I said, Fulmer hasn’t been as strong pitching at Comerica in 2017. He holds a 4.60 ERA on the road compared to 2.16 on the road. The only start he held any team to under 3 runs was the opener against the Red Sox on April 7th. Fulmer hasn’t been that bad, but I’m afraid the Tigers may have to lean on their bullpen in this game, as will the Royals.
The forecast calls for spotty showers and thunderstorms around Detroit, so any delay will knock them off the mound, giving way to a game of bullpen vs bullpen. They’ll get the game in, but there could be delays. Additionally, the wind is supposed to be blowing out, which is supposed to be strong.
The Tigers’ bullpen is dead last in the majors, 30th, with a 5.16 ERA. They are the only bullpen to have an ERA above 5.00. Another poor outing last night bumped their numbers up yet again. The Royals’ bullpen is not what it was during their World Series’ run, not close. It feels like those abilities went straight to the Indians’ bullpen.
Junis has been hit and miss a starter as a rookie with the Royals. He’s only had five starts in his career, posting a 4.97 ERA and 1.62 WHIP. Junis must find a way to limit the base runners with a WHIP like that if he wants to hang around in the rotation full-time. The Tigers’ offense comes and goes in waves. This should be one where they spring to life and find some runs. One rain delay and the bullpens will be left to mop this game up, with neither the least impressive. Look for the wind to get under some balls, too. I like the OVER at Comerica Park for our early afternoon MLB pick.
PICK: OVER 9.5 (-110)