If Derek Holland ever wanted to make a statement, he couldn't make a louder one than with a good showing in Texas on Saturday night when the Rangers continue their weekend series with the Detroit Tigers.
didn't fare well against the Motown crew in last October's ALCS, so he would
love to prove that he does indeed have the stuff to shut them down. It would also be a huge lift if he could do
so while facing the ace of the Tigers staff, Justin Verlander.
Not surprisingly, the baseball odds makers like the reigning AL MVP
and Cy Young to the tune of Detroit
priced -145 on the opening MLB odds. The
number had fallen to around -140 at most shops with the total sitting at 9 and favoring the UNDER on Saturday morning,
roughly 12 hours before the 8:05 p.m. (ET) first pitch at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington.
Austin Jackson fueled the Tigers' 6-2 win in the series
opener on Friday night. The
fleet-footed outfield scored Detroit's
first run after tripling and iced the evening with a 7th-inning inside-the-park
homer. Texas pitchers assisted the Tigers' cause by
issuing six free passes in the game.
Verlander quieted the Rangers at Comerica Park
earlier this season, a good sign after they roughed him up a bit last October
in Games 1 and 5 of the ALCS (11.1 IP, 7 ER). He was able to tough it out in the latter for a 7-5 win. After closing July with a couple of losses in
Cleveland and Boston,
Verlander bounced back last Monday in New
York with a great performance against the Yankees.
He actually hasn't pitched in this park too often the past
few seasons, just the ALCS a year go and a strong effort in 2009 when he
whiffed 13 would-be Texas
hitters in a 123-5 win.
Holland vs. the Tigers
It has been almost two years since Holland faced the Tigers in his only regular
season start. A couple of wind-blown
pops played into three unearned runs in his four inning stint. The lefty also saw them twice in the ALCS
last October, and only had himself to blame for two short outings, one in which
he couldn't finish the third and the other an out shy of five full innings. Texas won
all three of those games, but Holland
didn't provide much assistance in the victories.
missed about a month nursing both a sore shoulder and a virus, but he came back
with a couple of solid outings initially against the Twins and Mariners to get
his month of July rolling. Just one good
effort has followed in the four since then, however, and the more alarming than
his 7.00 ERA in that span are the nine homers, close to half his season
total. Granted, he was facing the Angels
(twice) and Red Sox in that stretch, a couple of powerful lineups, but he's now
going against another in the Tigers at a park that is very hitter-friendly.
Our Picks & Predictions
This isn't Jeremy Bonderman or Armando Gallaraga or even
Rick Porcello, who will close the series for Detroit on Sunday. This is Justin friggin' Verlander! He will be tackling an incredibly deep lineup
and will be doing so in a park conducive for the long ball, but I fully expect
him to gut through it and git-r-done, to quote poet Larry the Cable Guy.
You may want to take a stroll down Wuss Street tonight and place your MLB picks on the Tigers moneyline. I'll take an alternate
route with a run line play on Detroit
as part of my Saturday action.
My pick: Tigers
For all of you risk takers out there, here is a nice MLB Parlay to check out that includes our Tigers on the ML.