In what I consider the true Opening Day on the diamond, we look for a winning MLB pick on Monday afternoon. The Detroit Tigers and Chicago White Sox of the American League Central buckle up for another season. The AL Central was a wild ride a year ago, with neither the Tigers, White Sox, or Royals coming out on top.
It was a surprise to everyone, but the Cleveland Indians captured the division crown, and rode that momentum all the way to the World Series. The ensuing result was a loss to the Chicago Cubs, but their effort did not go without notice.
We start at the beginning now, and the Indians are going to need to earn it all over again. Do I expect the Tigers to win the AL Central? Well, how could we really say they will confidently? The Tigers didn’t do anything in the offseason.
They subtracted, but didn’t add anything worth noting. Cameron Maybin who played a decent role with the Tigers last year in the outfield is gone. The rotation is untouched, which is not the best of signs.
The biggest question mark in the Tigers’ rotation is Anibal Sanchez. His arm looked dead last season, where he was ultimately moved to the bullpen and still had issues. He’s shown moments of his former self in spring training, but that’s exactly it, it’s spring training.
The lineups are going to be a little different in the regular season. The back-end of this rotation is being held up by a string. The front, though? You can’t disagree that Justin Verlander and Michael Fulmer is a bad 1-2 combo.
Daniel Norris could be in for a big season as well, so we’ll see how it all unfolds in Detroit. There are plenty of question marks though, let’s leave it at that with this team. Let’s get straight to our Tigers vs. White Sox pick on Monday afternoon.
Detroit Tigers vs. Chicago White Sox Pick
Justin Verlander (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Jose Quintana (0-0, 0.00 ERA)
Verlander will get the call for Opening Day, and Fulmer will get the nod for the home opener in Detroit on Friday. Not a bad schedule for these two. Verlander will look to duplicate 2016, after he was being written off and sent out to the pasture by many people. JV was on fire outside of maybe the first month of the season. He ultimately posted an ERA of 3.04, with a 1.00 WHIP.
Verlander was stellar late, not allowing more than 3 runs across his final ten starts, and a 1.31 ERA in his final three games. He had no problems pitching on the road, yielding a 3.01 ERA.
The White Sox counter with their ace, Jose Quintana. Quintana takes over as the primary ace, after Chris Sale departed out of Chicago. We’ll see how he handles the pressure, but was fine a year ago. Note that Quintana finished with an ERA of 3.20, along with a 1.16 WHIP on the regular season. In five seasons at the major league level, he’s never seen his ERA float above 4.00. He’s been a model of consistency on the mound. I see this being a low scoring, 3-2 or 4-3 kind of ball game. Verlander and Quintana should shine, with the UNDER cashing us a ticket in Chicago.
PICK: UNDER 7.5 RUNS (-110)