The Tigers and Astros have played an entertaining series of baseball thus far this weekend. In the first game on Friday, the Astros were backed by a stellar performance from Dallas Keuchel, getting the 1-0 win over Mike Pelfrey. It goes without saying that Keuchel had a stellar performance. Whenever he starts it’s almost automatic that’s going to be the result. The Tigers belted the ball around the yard yesterday, garnering 15 hits and a 5-3 win to knot the series up. The rubber match is this afternoon, as Anibal Sanchez and Mike Fiers take center stage on Sunday.
This isn’t exactly the start that the Astros envisioned. They are expected to have themselves quite the year, but nothing from their play thus far has suggested they can be a threat. It’s way early, so let’s not jump to conclusions yet. The only thing we can say is that Keuchel has asserted himself as one of the best pitchers in the majors. He is in store for another big season in 2016.
The Astros are banking on Fiers being a nice crutch for Keuchel. He has been unable to do that in his first two starts. Like the Astros as a team, there is more than ample time to change opinions. The ‘Stros need to ignore the expectations that have been placed on them and just play comfortably. Houston are losers in four of their last five games. They had a spectacular season a year ago, but nothing is going to come easy to them now that they have a bit of a bulls-eye on their back. I am confident in saying that teams are not going to take them lightly anymore. The Astros have slipped to 4-8 after the loss last night.
No issues in Tiger land so far. When you keep thinking that it was their last season with a chance at the World Series, they add talent in the offseason and don’t embark on a fire sale. They lose guys, but replace them quickly and give it another go the following season. Owner Mike Ilitch desperately wants another World Series before he passes away, and it has been evident the way the Tigers haven’t folded their hand at all. With the additions of Justin Upton and Jordan Zimmermann, the Tigers aren’t going anywhere. We’ll see if they can take the series with a win on Sunday.
Detroit Tigers vs. Houston Astros
Anibal Sanchez (2-0, 3.38 ERA) vs. Mike Fiers (0-1, 6.55 ERA)
The Tigers needed to be active acquiring new talent if they wanted to be competitive in the AL Central. The Royals have taken over as the team to beat in the division, with the Tigers looking like an afterthought right now. This is a two team division, you can forget about the Indians, White Sox, and Twins. I realize the White Sox are currently 8-3, however I expect them to fall backwards as the season goes on. Sanchez earned the first win of the season in his first start, downing the Marlins and then following it up with another win against the Pirates. Sanchez surrendered 2 runs each in those outings, including only 4 hits.
Fries has been trying to get his first of the year, but has come up short in his first two starts. The hot end to last season hasn’t translated to 2016. He allowed 5 runs in his opening start and got dinged for 3 runs against the Royals on the 12th. Fries has posted a less than desirable WHIP of 1.45. The Tigers have been hitting right-handed pitching well, coming into today with a .282 batting average, compared to .226 for the Astros. Houston has been hammering lefties at a rate of .355, but they get the right-handed Sanchez this afternoon. The Astros shouldn’t be this big of a favorite in this matchup. If I were calculating the price the ‘Stros would be -115 to -110. I’m going to try and take advantage of the Tigers as a dog on Sunday.
PICK: TIGERS TO WIN +121