Tigers vs. Angels Pick MLB – May 31st

Michael Wacha suffered his first loss of the season last night, falling 5-1 to the Dodgers, and handed us a loss in the process as well. We will try to bounce back today and finish the weekend with a nice winner to wrap up a 6-2 MLB ATS week that included a couple of plus-money winners.

Meanwhile, the Minnesota Twins will try to do something they haven’t done in more than a decade, and something made all the more surprising by the fact that nearly every single major publication picked them dead last in their preseason preview columns. Yet here they are, slowing peeling off a picture of Rachel Phelps dress after each improbable victory. (That’s the former-showgirl owner in Major League, and if you didn’t know that, I weep for your misplaced childhood…)

Let’s get back to real baseball and pull a real winner out of an excellent slate of Sunday action on the diamond.

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Today’s Free Pick:

Detroit Tigers -106 at Los Angeles Angels -104 (Total: 7)

David Price (4-1, 2.97 ERA) vs. Matt Shoemaker (3-4, 4.57 ERA)

At first glance, this seems like a starting pitching mismatch, at least until you dig a little closer into the numbers and see Shoemaker’s 0.90 WHIP and 17:3 strikeout to walk ratio over his last three starts is worth taking notice.

But still, David Price has been awesome. The Tigers have won nine of ten of Price’s starts this season, including his last six in a row. His season numbers are good. His last three games are excellent; a WHIP of 1.03 and 24 K’s against just 4 walks in 20.1 sparkling innings. The Tigers will be counting on him tonight to help them avoid their first series sweep of 2015.

After four of five years of relative comfort, the Tigers suddenly find themselves in third place in the best division in baseball, despite playing good ball. The Twins and Royals are playing out of this world, and the bottom teams, Chicago and Cleveland are full of talent and were expected to contend. Sweeps this season will be more damaging than ever and I expect Price to rise to the nationally-televised occasion on tonight’s ESPN Sunday Night Contest.

Shoemaker has been better of late, but it’s hard to bet against Price, especially at near even-money and considering his team is 9-1 with him on the mound, and they really NEED him tonight. The Angels have had Detroit’s number, winning six straight dating back to last season and by a combined total of 30-10 (though this series 12-2 win skews the data a bit to the extreme). SO tonight truly is a measure of the old axiom that momentum is only as strong as the next day’s starting pitcher. I’ll put some trust in that notion, as well as the Tigers .275 batting average against right handed pitching. Look for them to get Price some runs and for him to handle his business from there.

Free Pick: Detroit Tigers to WIN -106