The Detroit Tigers just won’t go away, but the Cleveland Indians are holding strong in the AL Central and fending the Tigers off. The Indians looked cool, calm, and collected last night, picking up a victory to prevent the Tigers from getting closer in the division. Detroit is currently up 3-0 on the Mariners, but won’t be able to gain ground due to the Indians’ won. Nevertheless, there isn’t much room to fall back any further than they already are.
The Tigers have been playing good baseball lately, they’ve been pretty hot. So, there is a chance they can’t keep it going for the next month. And I believe they are going to have to stay hot through the rest of the regular season. The Tribe hit their snag and they have still managed to keep a lead in the American League Central.
The Mariners are trying feverously to catch a wildcard spot to make the postseason, but the odds aren’t looking good at the moment. It’s bizarre to say that Felix Hernandez is partially responsible for their inefficiencies. It isn’t his fault he was injured, or is getting older, however it’s unfortunate that the Mariners finally have a decent team that can compete for the postseason. Meanwhile, Hernandez is having the worst season of his career.
It just doesn’t feel fair to him. Felix was out of action for a couple of months, returning in July looking like a guy who is still playing in some discomfort. King Felix has been bumped off his thrown. On the other side tonight, there is a guy who has discovered the fountain of youth. It’s certainly safe to say that the Tigers would not be in a position to compete if it weren’t for Verlander.
There just wouldn’t have been enough horses in the stable for the Tigers. Verlander, Zimmermann, and Fulmer would have made for a nice 1-2-3 punch, but Zimmermann has been battling injuries for a great portion of the season. Regardless of Felix’s struggles, this is still a pitching matchup of the elite pitchers from the last decade. Both teams face another important matchup tonight in Seattle.
Detroit Tigers vs. Seattle Mariners
Justin Verlander (12-6, 3.52 ERA) vs. Felix Hernandez (6-4, 3.55 ERA)
For the majority of pitchers, a 3.55 ERA would be something to strive for, an accomplishment. However, for Felix Hernandez it’s a big sore spot. He finished with a 3.92 ERA in 2007, his third in the majors, which is the next worst year of his career. This also isn’t a reflection of Felix near the start of the season. After he got injured, the wheels quickly fell off for him. Following a 6 runs against outing against the Twins, the Mariners shut him down for two months. He came back on July 20th against the White Sox, looking the same, surrendering 5 runs against them. Since he has been back, he’s allowed 4 or more runs in three of four starts. Felix has posted a 4.74 ERA in his last three outings. Such a downer for the Mariners who need him in the worst way possible at the moment.
The last two seasons have essentially saved Justin Verlander’s career and is earning his paycheck. Verlander comes with a hefty contract, after the 2014 campaign he was looking like a waste of money. He finished with a 3.38 ERA a year ago, and is now putting together another productive campaign. Of late he has been looking like vintage JV.
Verlander hasn’t allowed more than 2 runs since June 26th, where he got bombed against the Indians. Ever since, he’s been flawless. In four of the seven starts Verlander gave up just 1 run. Predictably, his numbers look good in his last three tilts, posting a 2.14 ERA with a 0.86 WHIP. The Tigers look like the play tonight.
PICK: TIGERS TO WIN -112