The Angels and Tigers are set to meet up for the first time during the 2012 MLB campaign, with both teams alive and well in the AL Wild Card race. Let's find out if TV viewers should anticipate a high or low-scoring affair on ESPN's Monday night broadcast.
Fielder, Pujols do battle in the AL for the first time
Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols are longtime rivals, spending their entire careers in the National League Central division before the 2012 season, but both signed long-term deals with the Detroit Tigers and Los Angeles Angels respectively during the offseason. Fielder earned the starting spot on the AL All-Star team, and comes into this series hitting .301 with 15 home runs and 64 RBIs, while Pujols was absent from last week’s festivities in Kansas City due to an early-season slump.Santana must avoid the long ball
Angels' starting pitcher Ervin Santana (4-9, 5.75 ERA) has watched the club drop his last three efforts, with the offense scoring just nine runs over that span. The right-hander has been victimized by the long ball for much of the 2012 season, surrendering 20 in 103.1 combined innings. In eight career starts versus the Tigers
, Santana has garnered a 6-2 record and 3.57 ERA, including a 3-2 mark and 5.40 ERA in five outings at Comerica Park.
Rick Porcello (6-5, 4.47 ERA) has managed to produce a 2-1 record and 2.28 ERA in his last four starts, leading the clubhouse to victory in six of his last eight efforts. The right-hander has been the exact opposite of his counterpart in regards to allowing home runs, serving up just eight deep flies in 96.2 combined frames. Porcello has tallied a 2-3 record and 4.89 ERA in nine home starts, with opposing hitters batting .329 against him. In five career games versus the Angels, the former first-round pick is 3-1 with a 5.97 ERA.Total wagering will be one-sided in the series opener
The OVER is 11-0 in the Angels last 11 games with a total of 9.0 to 10.5, which includes Sunday afternoon’s 10-8 road victory over the New York Yankees (9.5). High-scoring games are the norm when Porcello takes the mound at this ballpark, with the OVER going 20-9-2 in the last 31 such opportunities.
Tigers bullpen may prove to be the difference
Closer Jose Valverde pitched a scoreless ninth inning in the Tigers’ 3-0 road win over the Baltimore Orioles Sunday, which continued the bullpen’s great run since May 17. Detroit’s relievers have posted a 2.31 ERA and collected 157 strikeouts over that span. The Angels unit struggled in its first three games since the Midsummer Classic, allowing seven runs in 4.2 innings of work (15.00 ERA).PredictionI’m going to suggest that MLB bettors take a contrarian approach
, as there’s some situational trends that point to the UNDER in this contest. The UNDER is 5-2 in Porcello’s last seven efforts with 10 or more days of rest, while Angels have fallen short of the number in 11 of 16 games when Santana takes the mound with a total of 9.0 to 10.5.Pick
: Under 10