The Detroit Tigers, thanks to a solo jack by Jarrod Saltalamacchia, the Tigers come into this week on a high note. The win gave the Tigers a 2-1 series win over the Kansas City Royals, a big series against a team they are competing against in the AL Central. The team to catch is still the Indians, who evaded the Minnesota Twins yesterday for a 6-1 win. With the win, the Indians have a stranglehold on the division, a nice comfy 6.5 game lead over the Tigers. The Tigers jumped two games up on the Royals following Sunday afternoon.
We’re going to see if the Indians can sustain their rapid pace in the coming months. If they’re still up by a 6 or 7 game margin in early August, it’s their division to give up. After a NBA Championship from the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Indians are trying to duplicate that success, albeit, in a bit more of a surprising fashion.
The Indians took two games off the Twins over the weekend. Now the Tigers get their crack at the last place Twins. With the White Sox, Tigers, and Royals still all alive in the hunt to catch the Indians, the Twins are well back of the pack. The Twins enter this week with a record of 33-58, which puts them 21 games behind the first place Indians. For the Tigers, these are the kind of series you need to win. The Tribe did their job and won a couple, now the Tigers need to do their part. Anything less and you’ll see the Tigers chances start to slip away.
It’ll be Matt Boyd who gets the call for the Tigers, who started in the minors, and due to failures in the starting rotation, notably Anibal Sanchez and an injury to Jordan Zimmermann, the Tigers had to bring Boyd up. The Twins will counter with Ricky Nolasco, who is trying to keep his head and career above water as he enters the twilight of his career. It’s supposed to be a hot and muggy one in downtown Detroit on Monday. Let’s see which bats reflect the temperature in the air tonight at Comerica Park. Find the pick below.
Minnesota Twins vs. Detroit Tigers
Ricky Nolasco (4-7, 5.22 ERA) vs. Matt Boyd (0-2, 5.77 ERA)
Let me say this much, the Tigers didn’t want to bring Matt Boyd up to the majors, but their hand was forced in this case. It isn’t like he was doing awful in Toledo either, posting a 2.25 ERA, but the plan for Detroit was to have a strong and healthy Anibal Sanchez and Jordan Zimmermann. Sanchez has a dead arm, and Zimmermann might be heading to rehab. The Tigers have had to dig into the minor leagues, with Michael Fulmer being the only lights out hurler out of the bunch. Boyd has had his moments though, most notably at home. He has posted an ERA of 2.76 ERA, with a 1.22 WHIP in Detroit. Compare this to on the road, where he has gotten hit for a 8.50 ERA. He held up against some solid teams at home too, including the Blue Jays and Indians.
In my opinion Nolasco is suffering from the same thing as Sanchez: a tired arm. There aren’t many ways around it here, age is just catching up to both of these guys. Nolasco to a lesser extent, but he has regressed backward in the last month. He enters with an ERA of 5.22, and a 6.62 ERA and 1.47 WHIP in his last three outings. He has been tagged for a 4.42 ERA throughout his career against the Tigers. The Twins are an abysmal 13-29 on the road, compared to the 24-17 mark for the Tigers. Detroit rides the walk-off momentum from yesterday and handle the Twins tonight.
PICK: TIGERS TO WIN -130