The Detroit Tigers have been in a familiar position for the last few months. Nothing has really changed much from a standings point of view. They’ve been hanging out behind the Cleveland Indians by about 5 or so games, and 2 back of a wildcard. As I write this, the Tigers are 4 runs back of the Royals and are 5 back of the Indians in the standings. The Indians spanked the Marlins, so they’re in real danger of falling back to 6 games. The Tigers, and other teams trying to catch the division lead, are going to run out of room here, as we draw close to the end of the regular season. Cleveland has been keeping an eye on the Tigers in their rear-view mirror, but they haven’t been able to creep up much to pose a serious threat. There is still time for the Tigers to get hot and Indians’ collapse, but we’ve been waiting for that all season long. The Tigers have had their moments, but the Indians have fended them off staying hot themselves.
The Tigers are 0.5 games back of Orioles for a wildcard, so squeezing into the postseason through that route is looking more realistic. Playing like they did last night isn’t going to help any though, as the offense couldn’t find any offense. They scored in the 4th inning and didn’t connect for another run until the top of the 9th. One day the pitching won’t show up for the Tigers, and then the next the offense will be going in slow motion. There isn’t really any middle ground with this team. Despite all of this though, the loss last night was only the first for the Tigers in five attempts. They went 8-2 in their last ten games before last night, to put them a position to compete to play in the Wild Card Round. The Indians haven’t slowed down, so with respects to the division, they’ve been treading water in the American League Central. Daniel Norris will try and get the Tigers back in the win column today, as he faces Edinson Volquez this afternoon in Kansas City.
Detroit Tigers vs. Kansas City Royals
Daniel Norris (2-2, 3.86 ERA) vs. Edinson Volquez (10-10, 5.01 ERA)
Volquez was playing some of the best baseball of his career the last two seasons, one with the Pirates and last season with the Royals. He pitched for a 3.04 ERA with the Pirates in 2014, and came to the Royals and helped them win the World Series, posting a 3.55 ERA. Volquez didn’t have a season where he pitched for an ERA under 4.00 since 2008 with the Reds. So, he found some newfound youth in his throw. However, he’s come back to earth in 2016, and I think the Royals got everything they could out of him a year ago. He enters against the Tigers with an ERA of 5.01, including a 5.86 ERA and 1.74 WHIP in his last three starts. He hasn’t had the best of starts against the Tigers in his career, posting an ERA of 5.47 ERA and 1.59 WHIP in nine starts.
The Detroit offense needs to get it going against a guy they’ve hit in the past. Daniel Norris steps in for the Tigers, with an ERA of 3.86, a pretty solid number for him. Right now the goal is to keep it under 4.00. Those numbers look a lot better with an ERA below that mark. The Tigers are being pretty cautious with him, as he hasn’t eclipsed 6.1 innings pitched in any of his starts this season. Norris comes into Sunday with a 4.41 ERA and 1.53 WHIP in his last three starts. We should be able to find enough runs in this game to push it OVER 8.5 runs.
PICK: OVER 8.5 RUNS (-110)