Blue Jays at Tigers Series Preview
DIVISIONAL LEADERS BATTLE WHEN TORONTO VISITS DETROIT FOR THREE-GAME SET
Now that the NBA Playoffs are winding down in terms of the daily grind, it’s time for sports bettors to focus on Major League Baseball! And, that focus should be directed immediately at the huge series that begins Tuesday Night featuring the Toronto Blue Jays (leaders of the AL East), and the Detroit Tigers (leaders of the AL Central).
We’re only two months into the season, so it’s too early to talk about potential playoff previews. But, the Tigers are already a virtual lock for the postseason because of their deep talent in a weak division. Toronto has the offense to be important all season. Will the pitching hold up? Will the Yankees or Red Sox buy their way into the playoffs with summer acquisitions?
For now…THIS series should have a playoff feel because of the current standings and the regional rivalry (did you know that Detroit in the US is actually further north than Toronto?). Let’s quickly evaluate the offenses through the first two months of 2014 MLB action. Then we’ll look at the probable pitchers for the three-game set.
Toronto: 5.02 runs per game, .335 on-base, .453 slugging
Detroit: 4.53 runs per game, .323 on-base, .423 slugging
Toronto has either the best or second-best offense in the American League depending on how you account for ballpark influences. Oakland has been fantastic. Toronto has certainly been elite. Detroit got off to a slower than expected start…and arguably trails expectations even though they still grade out well. Unless the Blue Jays cool off, you have to consider them as the superior offense.
Drew Hutchison: 3.88 ERA, 1.26 WHIP, 8.2 K-Rate
Anibal Sanchez: 2.49 ERA, 0.99 WHIP, 8.5 K-Rate
Hutchison has had some woeful starts. But, he did hurl a 3-hit shutout of Texas that helped his full season stats. Sanchez missed some time with an inury…but clearly has Cy Young type stats when healthy. Clear edge here to Sanchez, though he may not yet be back to his peak form after the layoff.
R.A. Dickey: 4.30 ERA, 1.36 WHIP, 7.5 K-Rate
Rick Porcello: 3.82 ERA, 1.23 WHIP, 5.9 K-Rate
Remember that this is a low scoring year in MLB, so both of those ERA’s are disappointing against current standards. Dickey cost a lot of money just to come over to the AL to be mediocre. Toronto didn’t do park adjustments when getting him from the NY Mets. Porcello’s low K-Rates always have him flirting with disaster. Possibly a good spot to look at the Over considering there are no travel distractions in the middle game of a series.
J.A. Happ: 4.10 ERA, 1.55 WHIP, 8.0 K-Rate
Justin Verlander: 3.99 ERA, 1.44 WHIP, 6.5 K-Rate
Had you noticed Verlander’s ERA has risen all the way up to almost 4.00?! He’s been struggling badly in recent starts. It’s hard to imagine him with a WHIP over 1.40, or a K-Rate that low. He’s clearly lost something of late…and that’s a potential monkey wrench in Detroit’s championship plans. At least he has four months to get things figured out. Happ has been feast or famine, meaning he’s either much better or much worse than the statline above. Another spot to consider an Over giving those WHIPS.
JIM HURLEY will likely have at least one play in this series, and could be even more active than that. You can always purchase the final word right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call us in the office at 1-800-323-4453. Be sure to ask about combination packages that include the NBA Championships that start Thursday and Saturday’s Belmont Stakes.
Here’s the NOTEBOOK schedule for this week:
Wednesday: Oakland at the New York Yankees TV preview
Thursday: Game One of the NBA Finals…Miami at San Antonio
Friday: MLB series preview for the LA Dodgers at Colorado
Saturday: Boston at Detroit on FOX in prime time
Sunday: Game Two of the NBA Finals…Miami at San Antonio
Back with you Wednesday for the nationally televised battle of “MONEYBALL” vs. “BIG MONEY” when the A’s visit the Yankees. Stick with us every day in the NOTEBOOK for helpful handicapping information. Then, link up with JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK for BIG, JUICY WINNERS!
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