Falling too far behind at this point isn’t an option for the Detroit Tigers. However, that’s exactly what they are doing at the moment. With the Tigers off yesterday, and the Indians tied 0-0 late against the Athletics, it could be a bigger hold for the Tigers after last night. They are currently 7 games back of the Indians, making it increasingly difficult to come back if that number increases to 8 games.
There becomes a point where the Tigers might want to start focusing on the Wild Card. That’s going to be a task as well, not quite as tall, but they are back 3 games as it stands now. That might not look like a lot, but there are some good teams ahead of them, including the Mariners, Orioles, Red Sox, and Blue Jays. Three teams from the American League East may very well reach the postseason.
The Red Sox and Blue Jays belong in the postseason, along with the Orioles. The Tigers, though? Too many holes for my liking on this Detroit team. The Tigers have become infamous in throwing money around the last few years at trying to get a World Series for owner Mike Illitch before he passes. As we’ve come to find in baseball though, that formula doesn’t work out with the best of results these days. The Yankees in the late 90s and early 2000s were doing quite alright with that method, but times have changed, and a lot of teams with these small salaries are outdoing the heavy payrolls.
The San Francisco Giants and Kansas City Royals come to mind right off the bat. Detroit has the horses in the stable, but the foundation and poor infrastructure is evident. The Tigers are going to go through some growing pains rather shortly, with a lot of their marquee players getting older. There are some promising pieces of the future, notably Michael Fulmer, however Justin Verlander, Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez, and Justin Upton have all seen their best days in the past.
Their opponent tonight, the Minnesota Twins, can tell the Tigers all about growing pains, as they’ve been in rebuilding mode for a few years now. Continuing his quiet quest as one of the best catchers in baseball, Joe Mauer has led the Twins to a reasonable second-half. The Twins haven’t looked like the worst team, despite a porous 49-75 record. They can make life more miserable on their American League Central counterpart tonight in Minnesota.
Detroit Tigers vs. Minnesota Twins
Anibal Sanchez (6-12, 5.94 ERA) vs. Kyle Gibson (5-7, 4.90 ERA)
Anibal Sanchez has had a season to forget, which ranks as the worst of his professional career. Last season it looked like he was regressing, finishing with a 4.99 ERA. The question being for 2016 if he was going to be able to regain form? The question has been answered, which is a resounding no. I’m not taking anything away from his career, which was a very good one, but Sanchez has struggled to find his ways of yesteryear. Sanchez, however, turned back the clocks to yesteryear with an outstanding performance against the Kansas City Royals. He allowed only 1 hit over 7 innings of work, and get this, the Tigers still managed to botch the game and lose 4-1. It’s always like that for the Tigers. Their pitching will be strong, and then there be no offense. When their offense is killing the ball, their pitching will suffer a setback and they’ll lose a 9-7 type of game.
Sanchez has been in shambles on the road, posting an ERA of 8.12, with a 1.79 WHIP and .393 OBA. His last three starts on the road have gone like this: 7, 5, and 8 runs allowed. The Tigers have been able to hit Kyle Gibson, though. The Tigers are a team Gibson hasn’t been able to solve, yielding a 5.04 ERA and 1.52 WHIP in eight appearances. Not that Gibson has done too well against other opponents either, as he enters Tuesday with a 4.90 ERA and 1.50 WHIP. I sense that this game, at the least, will have something along the lines of a 6-4 final score. After getting by off an Evan Longoria bottom of the 9th jack last night, let’s hope this OVER win is a little more comfortable.
PICK: OVER 9.5 RUNS (-105)