The Detroit Tigers are trying to overcome a rather gloomy start to the season and were recently on their biggest winning trek of the season. The Tigers pulled off five wins in a row and were winners of 6-1 in the midst of seven games. However, here we are again, with the Tigers starting to teeter backwards again. Detroit was fortunate enough to string together some quality games before they headed to the west coast. In a weekend series against the Athletics, the Tigers went 1-2, that’s okay, but they can’t allow it to turn into a losing streak after they fought hard to get in a position to reach .500.
The White Sox are starting to falter, the Royals haven’t been playing too great but are beginning to look better, the Indians are the Indians, and the Tigers don’t know if they’re coming or going yet. The AL Central will work itself out, but at the moment, it’s a little muddied up. The Royals will enter June with the lead in the division thanks to a 8-2 spurt in their last ten games. The White Sox have done the opposite, falling to 27-25 due to going 2-8 in their last ten games.
The only team the Tigers are ahead of are the lowly Minnesota Twins. However, only 4.5 games behind the Royals, nobody, except the Twins are out of the hunt for the division. But in any event, it wouldn’t be that shocking if the Royals build more of a lead and pull away things in the summer. They certainly have the least amount of holes on their roster than the others in the division. You can find a problem with all of them. With the Royals, you get the sense that the pitching and clutch hitting will be there when the time matters.
The bullpen and starting pitching alike. Anibal Sanchez will get the start for the Tigers this evening, who has been fairly predictable. Predictable in the sense that you know when he is going to hit a wall. He’ll give a few good innings to begin the game, but by the 5th or 6th inning his arm begins to tire out. Maybe it would help if the Tigers had a good bullpen to back him up, but it isn’t the case, and it hasn’t been the case for nearly a decade now. The bullpen has always hurt this team, which could explain with so much talent in the rotation and in the lineup, the Tigers haven’t won a World Series in recent memory.
Sanchez is no longer a sure bet on the mound, his prime is behind him, and the Tigers were unable to use him at his best to win a championship. He faces Hector Santiago and a 23-28 club tonight. The Angels handed the Tigers their third straight loss on this road trip last night, a 5-1 win.
Detroit Tigers vs. L.A. Angels
Anibal Sanchez (3-6, 6.04 ERA) vs. Hector Santiago (3-3, 4.58 ERA)
It isn’t exactly a talent issue with Sanchez, he isn’t doing anything different from years ago from a technique standpoint. It’s more so a matter of his arm dying as he gets older. Sanchez has had a great career, dating back to 2006 with the Marlins. But last season he looked much different, posting a 3.43 ERA in 2014 and 4.99 ERA in 2015. That was the first season since 2008 that Sanchez had an ERA above 4.00. He’s followed it up with some poor work on the mound, coming into tonight with an abysmal ERA of 6.04, including 4 or more runs allowed in 4-1 of his last five starts. He’s also notched a 6.35 ERA and 1.47 WHIP in his last three starts. This just isn’t the same guy who was so consistent year in and year out. A tired arm will do that to you.
Hector Santiago has been struggling as well, but with Santiago, he might need to work on some things to rectify some issues. Sanchez is just a horse that doesn’t have enough gas to make it to the end of the finish line. Santiago has pitched for a 6.23 ERA in his last three games, so statistically these two are even in that sense. Santiago has also been getting slammed at home with a 5.68 ERA and 1.42 WHIP. He’s given up 4 home runs in his last two starts. The winner is difficult to ascertain in this matchup. I surely assume there has to be some runs being scored tough, with Sanchez and Santiago getting pitching duties tonight in Anaheim.
PICK: OVER 8.5 RUNS (-110)