The Detroit Tigers hit the road tonight as they open a series with the Arizona Diamondbacks. The game is scheduled for a 9:40 p.m. (EST) start time and it will be televised live on MLB.tv. The Major League Baseball Odds for the game have Detroit listed as the favorite on the road in this one.
The Tigers just lost three out of four to Cleveland, certainly something they didn't want as they started the second half of the campaign. Now they're on the road in Arizona, taking on a Diamondbacks team that is not very good in home games. Arizona has just a 20-31 record in their own ballpark this season, something skipper Kirk Gibson and the boys want to turn around as fast as possible.
Arizona is for the most part already out of the running for the post season, sitting 11.5 games back of the San Francisco Giants and LA Dodgers in the National League West and the Wild Card. That's not where they wanted to be at the beginning of t he season, but at this point it's going to be very tough for them.
Detroit is a very good road team, already having 28 victories away from their home park this season. The Tigers lead the AL Central by 5.5 games despite losing three of four to Cleveland, and they believe claiming some wins in Arizona will be a possibility.
Justin Verlander will take the hill tonight. He's struggled this season with just an 8-8 record and a 4.88 ERA on the year. But during interleague play he's been the man, sporting a 12-0 record with a 2.12 ERA in his last 14 starts against National League opponents during the regular season. He hasn't been good on the road this year, however. He's gone 0-2 with a 5.76 ERA in four starts since his last road win back on May 30 at Seattle.
The Detroit righty has only faced Arizona once in his career — striking out 14 in eight innings of work in a victory.
The Diamondbacks have won seven of 10. Tonight they send Vidal Nuno to the mound. He's 2-6 this year with a 5.10 ERA in split time with Arizona and the New York Yankees. He'll have to face a Detroit team tonight that has been hitting the ball well all season. Miguel Cabrera is the best guy in the league and he has a solid history in Arizona — holding an average of .393 with five home runs and 15 RBI in 16 career games in Arizona.
It will be interesting to see where Victor Martinez plays. He's pretty much a full-time designated hitter, but could see time behind the dish because of the National League park. His bat is just too important for Detroit, despite his struggles since the All-Star break.
In this one, we like Detroit to pick up a win tonight. Verlander needs a solid outing to get his season back on track. He should be able to make a solid start tonight against the Diamondbacks. If Detroit can hit Nuno, we think they are the right play.
Free Pick: Detroit 6, Arizona 3
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