It's not exactly a marquee mound matchup to get
such an important series underway, but both hurlers Friday in Texas where the Rangers host the Detroit
Tigers are critical pieces to each team's hopes of reaching the postseason and
Welcome to the Lone
for a weekend set between a pair of American League powers. The Tigers and Rangers were among the top
favorites to win the AL
before the season started, and they remain favorites in the latest MLB futures
odds as well as two
of my picks to make the playoffs.
The series opener finds a pair of righthanders on the mound
as Max Scherzer gets the call for the Tigers against the Rangers' ScottFeldman. Overnight MLB odds had the Rangers -135 with
a 10.5 run total.
This is the third and final regular season series between
the clubs, and Texas
owns a healthy 5-2 advantage in the previous meetings of 2012. The teams have played fairly level since the
early-to-mid 90s with Texas
having a slight 92-89 edge in that span, during which both teams have solid
home records against one another. The
Rangers winning three of four in Detroit
earlier this year is the most notable part of their 5-2 season mark. The Tigers had won 15 of the previous 19 at Comerica Park,
so perhaps Texas
is breaking its malo Motown mojo.
A more interesting trend for baseball bettors in this series is the
scoring that has taken place at Rangers Ballpark. There were plenty of runs when the Tigers
came to Arlington
in late-June, each game reaching double-digit figures. In fact, an 8-2 Tigers win in the opener
actually went UNDER an 11-run total. The following two games skipped past 10
and 10.5 respectively.
The scoring stayed in line with how things have gone the
past few seasons on this diamond. Detroit and Texas
have failed to combine for at least 10 runs in a game just once in the last 11
clashes at Rangers Ballpark and averaged 14 runs flat over that period.
Now I mentioned the importance of the two pitchers earlier,
and it falls on their respective shoulders to try and reverse that scoring
barrage in Texas. Even though Detroit
is chasing the Chicago White Sox in the AL Central standings while the Rangers
own a 5.5-game lead in the West, the largest for any division leader, my vote
goes to Feldman for being more crucial to Texas than Scherzer is for the Tigers.
Scherzer can certainly give the pursuing Tigers a big lift
from here on out, but he's pitching behind the likes of Justin Verlander, Doug
Fister and Anibal Sanchez. The Rangers
have reached a point they need Feldman to step up and pitch like a No. 2 arm in
a rotation instead of the spot-start, long-relief role he opened the season
There isn't much to like about Yu Darvish right now, and
Matt Harrison, the team's top starter to this point, is showing signs of
decline. Derek Holland has been getting
hammered, and as much as I like the guy, Roy Oswalt ain't the answer. One of the biggest losses to the pitching
staff among many was Colby Lewis, and we may not hear the name Neftali Feliz
again until September 2013, both of those hurlers out of action following elbow
surgeries. Feldman has been pitching pretty well, but can he continue?
The mindset of the two teams on Friday is another topic to
has to be feeling good after a 4-2 road trip that ended with two wins in Boston. Their bats were cooking in Wednesday's 10-9
decision, though it should be pointed out the Rangers were facing Josh Beckett
and a team managed by Bobby Valentine.
meanwhile, has to be a bit down despite a 5-2 homestand which ended in a pair
of losses to the New York Yankees. Both
games were very winnable for the Tigers and now they have to fly into the Texas heat.
Ah yes, the Texas
heat. The teams might actually catch a
bit of a break Friday when the high is forecast to only reach 99ºF. If you're going to the baseball betting
window on this game, keep an eye on the wind. Early predictions are NNE at 10-12 mph. That would be the 3B bag to the RF foul pole, and the way winds can
swirl inside the park it could actually push flies towards right more to the RF
power alley, and even help knock down balls to left.
Mark me down a contrarian to trends in this one as I add
under 10.5 to my MLB picks basket. Follow or fade me all weekend as I preview all three games in this
My pick: UNDER