Whether it’s fixing his mechanics, or Kate Upton is working her magic on him, Justin Verlander hasn’t looked this good since he took home the Cy Young in 2011. It’ll have to be more of the same for Verlander down the stretch for the Tigers to catch the Indians. Both teams lost yesterday, so it was a wash, and the Indians remain 5 games up on the Tigers in the AL Central. It was a mishap on the Tigers part, which would saw them inch closer to the Indians. Too often, the Tigers are trading games with the Indians, they win and the Indians win, too. Treading water won’t get you anywhere, and trading games isn’t going to bolster the Tigers chances at all.
Back 2.5 games of a one-game play-in game in the Wild Card round, the Tigers are in a battle there with other teams in the American League as well. It’s a competitive field that has the Red Sox, Blue Jays, and Orioles all ahead of them. Somebody has to win the AL East, so that might leave two other clubs from that division making the postseason. Although, I like to refer to the Wild Card round as a play-in, more than the actual postseason.
The Blue Jays, Orioles, and Red Sox all have a legitimate argument for making it far in October. In the Tigers’ case, they’re going to have to scratch and claw for this one. However, the Royals won’t have the privilege of winning the division, competing for a wildcard, or even scratching and clawing for that matter. An abysmal season for the Royals, has put them at 57-60, without a shot in hell of coming back.
The Royals have been playing better baseball lately, but they might run out of room here down the stretch. They have won 7-2 in their last nine games, following their latest win yesterday. The problem is that isn’t good enough for them to come all the way back. 20-2 might be what they have to do for that to become a topic of discussion.
Royals’ pitcher, Danny Duffy, has been a real bright spot in Kansas City this season, though. He’s perhaps cemented himself as the ace of the Royals’ pitching staff for 2017. With a record of 9-1 on the mound, there is no faulting Duffy for the Royals’ struggles. Let’s get out to Comerica Park tonight, for what promises to be an exciting matchup between two of the best hurlers in the American League.
Kansas City Royals vs. Detroit Tigers
Danny Duffy (9-1, 2.82 ERA) vs. Ricky Nolasco (12-6, 3.42 ERA)
Who is Danny Duffy? Well, I think a lot of people who aren’t Royals’ fans are asking this question. Duffy isn’t a rotation filler or somebody the Royals have at the back of their rotation. Despite battling the injury bug, Duffy has asserted himself as one of the more promising pitchers in baseball. It is a shame that Duffy hasn’t been able to stay on the mound, because if so, there would be a few more people that know who he is. He’s posted a record of 9-1 and an ERA of 2.82. And lately, he’s been playing some of his best baseball, with a 1.14 ERA, 0.68 WHIP, and .186 OBA. In other words, he has been pretty unhittable.
Jordan Zimmermann isn’t expected back in the Tigers’ rotation until mid-September. Therefore, it’s even more imperative that Verlander carries the weight, along with Michael Fulmer. A healthy Zimmermann would have done this team wonders, but he has been on the shelf more often than not. Verlander has been strong, though, posting a 3.42 ERA on the year, and more importantly, has been one of the hottest pitchers in baseball since July 1st. He hasn’t allowed more than 2 runs across that stretch, and five out of seven 1 run showings. Since the Indians torched him for 8 runs, something has been clicking for Verlander. I was expecting a total of 7 so this bet appeases to me. In what I see is a 4-2 or 3-2 ball game, we get some extra insurance with the hook. Heavy hitter, Miguel Cabrera, is going to be out with a strained bicep. I am looking for a pitcher’s duel in Detroit tonight, with a play on the UNDER attractive.
PICK: UNDER 7.5 RUNS (-125)