The Detroit Tigers took two out of three from the Blue Jays over the weekend, but lost a big piece in the process. For the first time in his career, Miguel Cabrera was placed on the DL. It’s a big blow for a Tigers team that is just trying to stay afloat above .500. Heading into the All-Star break below .500 would be such a bitter pill to swallow, and without Cabrera around, who was pretty much doing it all for the Tigers offensively, that may become a reality. The loss of Cabrera is of course a big one, but it is better for it to happen now, with the break coming up so he can rest, then happen in a couple of months. They also have other issues to worry about in Detroit. Even with Cabrera in the lineup there are issues to be had. Most notably, in the pitching department, which has completely come undone.
The starting pitching, besides David Price, is getting bombed, and their bullpen is right where we thought they’d be prior to the season started. The pen had a nice run early in the year, but things have changed drastically, as it is nearly a guarantee runs are going to go up once the starter exits. The Tigers nearly blew an 8 run lead on Friday after Anibal Sanchez left in the 8th!
Speaking of problems, the Mariners have some of their own. Both of these teams are in positions at the moment where they did envision themselves being heading into the 2015 campaign. The Mariners have caught a lot of flak for not spending money on their offense. They finally did in the offseason and it hasn’t exactly paid off to this point. They got a lead-off man in Austin Jackson, a couple of heavy bats in Nelson Cruz and Robinson Cano, but the only one that has panned out is Cruz. Still plenty of time to catch fire, however a 38-44 record is disastrous considering how they thought this season was going to unfold. 38-44 is what you come to expect from the Mariners with a bunch of role players and no heavy bats, which is what they’ve had for the greater part of the last five years, but with some heavyweights in their now, the same results should not be occurring. The Mariners will have a struggling Tiger greeting them tonight on the mound, but conversely, the Tigers have a date with a similar pitcher as well.
Detroit Tigers vs. Seattle Mariners
Alfredo Simon (7-5, 3.94 ERA) vs. Hisashi Iwakuma (0-1, 6.61 ERA)
For a minute Alfredo Simon made Tigers’ fans forget all about Max Scherzer. I said for a minute. Because not long after Simon started to hit the dumps, Scherzer went in beast mode and was delivering standout performances left and right, including a 1 hitter followed by a no-hitter. Alfredo Simon hasn’t been having the same kind of success lately, and that perhaps his big start was smoke and mirrors. His last three starts has produced a mammoth 11.05 ERA with a 2.39 WHIP and .438 OBA. Simon has also been getting lit up with relative ease on the road, posting a 5.03 ERA and 1.53 WHIP in 39.1 innings pitched.
His counterpart, Iwakuma, was an ATM for me when he came onto the major league scene a couple of years ago in a big way. In 2015 he has been trying to recapture that mojo. Unfortunately, though, he is in the same boat as Simon lately. He posted a high recent ERA as well, yielding an ERA of 6.61 and 1.42 WHIP, which coincides with his 6.61 overall ERA. He’s allowed more than 3 runs in seven out of his last ten games, with only one falling under 3 runs, dating back to last season. In 2015 he has only had three starts due to injury, but things haven’t gone well with that 6.61 ERA, allowing 4 runs in each game. Consequently, he is picking right up where he left off last season. The confidence of Iwakuma has been shot dating back to late 2014 and he doesn’t appear to have much this season either. Could it be the nagging injury holding him back? Whatever it is, I know Simon and Iwakuma should not be demanding a total of 7. I like the OVER 7 here.
PICK: OVER 7 RUNS (-110)