Tigers vs. Pirates Pick – MLB April 13th

The Detroit Tigers are on pace for a perfect season. Of course that will not happen, but as it is now they don’t have a loss to their credit. If the bullpen holds up for the Tigers they can win the whole thing. The offense is impressive on paper, and has been impressive on the field. Often teams have it on paper, but it doesn’t always translate to the diamond. With the Tigers, the offense has been on fire, and with the talent they have, should not slow down. They’ll have their dry periods as the season progresses, however, overall Detroit should continue to kill the ball. With a lineup that features Miguel Cabrera and Victor Martinez, it is already deadly enough, but if JD Martinez continues to swing the bat like he is the sky is the limit. I think JD is the big x-factor for the Tigers this season. And I haven’t even mentioned the addition of Yoenis Cespedes yet, so lets get to that. The Tigers sent starting pitcher Rick Porcello to the Red Sox in exchange for Cespedes, and by all means, it is looking like they made a good move. The Tigers replaced Porcello with Alfredo Simon, so they may have even improved in the pitching department with the move. If Simon pitches as well as he did last year then this was a steal for the Tigers.

For a team with as much offense as the Tigers have, the Pittsburgh Pirates are polar opposites. They aren’t going to win games like the Tigers are going to this season. They’re going to win by solid pitching. However, is the Pirate pitching staff good enough to be able to make that happen? I have to say no. In other words, I see the Pirates fighting for a playoff spot late in the season. They’ll either just make it or just miss out. Andrew McCutchin is great and all, but is that enough? They sure looked better with him in the lineup yesterday, killing the Brewers for a 10-2 win, but they shouldn’t be relying on offense output like that all the time. Neil Walker is a decent player, however on the Tigers he is a guy that would be at the bottom of the batting order. They will need to rely on pitching, although their rotation doesn’t impress me all that much. Today they send out Gerrit Cole who will operate opposite Anibal Sanchez. Both will be making their second starts of the season this afternoon.

Detroit Tigers at Pittsburgh Pirates

Anibal Sanchez (1-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Gerrit Cole (0-1, 5.40 ERA)

There are some days where Gerrit Cole can look like a great pitcher and others where he should just pack it in and look ahead to the next start. He is a little bit of a mixed bag that I always have trouble backing. I had trouble ascertaining what we were going to get from him in his first start, which ended up resulting in a dud. Cole got ripped for a 5.40 ERA and 1.40 WHIP in his first start of the season. His stats regressed from his rookie season, a 3.22 ERA to a 3.65 ERA and 1.17 WHIP to 1.21. From a rookie season to the next, you want to see either improvement or some stability. I predict another bump to about a 3.70 to 4.00 ERA this season.

Anibal Sanchez has been the model of consistency. Sanchez performs this season and the Tigers are going to be very tough to beat. If Verlander comes back and plays well then they will be favorites to win the World Series. A lot of ifs with this team, but they are sitting in a good position. Sanchez has enjoyed two good years with the Tigers, pitching for a 2.57 ERA in 2013 and 3.43 last season. He got off to a fast start this season, allowing no runs in his opener and minimizing his WHIP to only 0.75. Opposing batters also had a low OBP of .200. The better pitcher in this game? Sanchez. The better offense in this game? Tigers. Who is getting the value on the price? Tigers. This could be seen as a letdown spot for the Tigers, but I think we have to ride them considering how well the offense is swinging. Over their first six starts, the Tigers have averaged 7.8 runs per game. That is hard to ignore. It is also hard to ignore them at the price we are being afforded. It’s the Tigers for me to get Monday afternoon started.