The Detroit Tigers were on a five-game winning streak until yesterday, but look to start a new one against the Cleveland Guardians. It is time to continue our MLB odds series with a Tigers-Guardians prediction, pick, and how to watch.
Yesterday it was Paul Goldschmidt that sent three balls over the fence to take out the tigers. The Tigers had won the first two games of the series, coming off a sweep of the Mets that give them five in a row. The Tigers now sit in third place in the AL Central, just three back of the Minnesota Twins. In second place is the Cleveland Guardians, who are a half-game ahead of the Tigers. It was a disappointing start to the campaign, but the Guardians just took two of three from the Twins and saw Cal Quantrill take a no-hitter into the seventh inning. They will now get a chance to cut into the Twins division lead if they can handle the Tigers in this series.
Here are the Tigers-Guardians MLB odds, courtesy of FanDuel.
MLB Odds: Tigers-Guardians Odds
Detroit Tigers: +1.5 (-134)
Cleveland Guardians: -1.5 (+112)
Over: 8 (-105)
Under: 8 (-115)
How To Watch Tigers vs. Guardians
Time: 6:10 PM ET/ 3:10 PM PT
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Why The Tigers Could Cover The Spread
If the Tigers want to keep winning games and contending in the division, they will need to figure out how to score runs. In the five-game winning streak, they averaged 5.4 runs per game, while all the rest of their game combine for an average of 3.36 runs per game. In baseball, two runs are very often the difference between going home with a win and going home with a loss. They have to do better at driving batters home when they are in scoring position. They average leaving 3.67 batters in scoring position per game, which is 24th in the majors. As a team, they are hitting just .207 with runners in scoring position, which is last in the majors. When you combine that with the fact that the Tigers are 26 in plate appearances with runners in scoring position, it is a recipe for low scoring.
Ultimately, this will improve if the Tigers can have star players make strides here. First needs to be Spencer Torkelson. He is hitting just .194 with runners in scoring position this year and has just one extra-base hit in 38 plate appearances. His struggles in these situations are nothing new though, as last year he hit .178 in these situations. While Torkelson leads the team in RBIs, he needs to figure out how to drive in more in the clutch at-bats. Behind Torkelson in RBIs for the team is Javier Baez, who is making the most of his RISP situations. On the season Baez has driven in 15, with three home runs, a batting average of .259, and an OPS of .707. When in the clutch RISP situations, his average jumps to .346 with an OPS of .958.
Getting the start of the Tigers on the mound will be Joey Wentz. Wentz is currently 0-3 on the season with a 6.67 ERA. In his last start, he gave up three home runs and five earned runs against the Mets. On the season, he has given up five earned runs in three of his six starts. When he has had good control, and gotten more weak pop-ups and more strikeouts, he has limited the runs. That has not been his consistent performance on the year though.
Why The Guardians Could Cover The Spread
While the Tigers have struggled to score runs, the same can be said of the Guardians. The Guardians have scored 122 runs this year, which is 28th in the majors, and just one better than the Tigers. Cleveland gets more opportunities to score runners when they are in scoring position on the year and have hit slightly betters. Still, they have left more batters on than the Tigers, leaving 3.85 batters in scoring position per game. That is the second-worst mark in all of the majors.
Josh Naylor and Jose Ramirez have provided the majority of run production so far this year for Cleveland. Naylor has three home runs and 35 RBIs but is hitting just .202 on the year. Ramirez is hitting better, at .282, and his OBP is .364. He has 18 RBIs on the year and has scored 18 times while stealing five bases. Ramirez also leads the team in batting average with runners in scoring position. This year he has a slash line of .393/.525/.786 in those situations. Steven Kwan is also coming through on the regular in those spots, hitting .313. Still, other major players have struggled here. Josh Bell, Amed Rosario, and Josh Naylor are all hitting .250 or worse. The biggest issue is the three of them have combined for 29 strikeouts in these situations.
Tanner Bibee will be getting the start for the Guardians today. He has only made two starts on the season and pitched well. In his first start, he went 5.2 innings and have up just one run to get the win. In his second time out against the Yankees, it was two runs in 5.1 innings, but a no-decision.
Final Tigers-Guardians Prediction & Pick
This should be an interesting game. The biggest differentiating factor could be pure power. Both pitchers on the hill today are flyball pitchers. Luckily, for the pitchers, the wind is expected to be blowing in and there is a chance of precipitation in this game. That means it will take a fair amount of power to get the ball out of the yard, which favors the Guardians. It also means runs may need to be manufactured, which also favors Cleveland. They get the win today in a lower-scoring game.
Final Tigers-Guardians Prediction & Pick: Guardians -1.5 (+112)
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