Detroit Tigers (53-47) AT Minnesota Twins (47-53)
July 24, 2011 at 4:10 PM EST
Opening Line: MIN -135, DET +115
Current Line: MIN -124, DET +114
Opening Total: 8.5
Current Total: 8.5
SP: DET- Rick Porcello, MIN- Francisco Liriano
Going into last night’s 6-2 loss, the Tigers had beaten the Twins 11 consecutive games, but the Twins won behind the strong hitting of Michael Cuddyer (2 of 4 with a HR) and Joe Mauer (2 of 4). Justin Verlander threw a strong outing for the Tigers, allowilng only 5 hits in 8 innings of work, while striking out 9 batters and dropping his ERA to 2.24 and improving his record to 13-5.
“Five or six runs for Verlander,” Tigers manager Brennan Boesch said, “is like 10 or 12 for anyone else.”
Verlander realizes the importance of the victory, as it brought the Tigers to within half a game of the Indians for the division crown. “Where we’re at in the division, every game is important,” Verlander said. “It’s good to get Game One. Hopefully we get three more and get out of here.”
While the loss hurt the Twins, they remain within striking distance, the problem is that 6 games is a pretty decent distance and if they don’t pick it up soon, they are going to completely demolish their chances of winning the division, or even getting the wild card berth.
The Twins haven’t hit particuarly well against Tigers’ starter Rick Porcello, who is 9-6 with a 4.76 ERA on the season. He has given up 3 runs in each of his 3 starts this month. However, against tthe Twins, he has won his last three starts while compiling a 1.83 ERA. He attributes it to a better mix of pitches and use of his changeup, commenting, “I think I’m just using a better mix of off-speed stuff…that’s keeping guys off balance.” Judging by the nine strikeouts, it seems he certainly does have them guessing, particularly late in counts after an odd progression of pitches through the at bat.
Francisco Liriano clearly has seen his best days, but is still 6-7 wilth a 4.56 ERA. He has gone 0-4 with an 8.27 ERA in his last 5 starts against the Tigers, and he gave up 4 runs in 3 innings while facing Porcello on May 10th. Liriano has allowed only one earned run in each of his last two starts, however, and is 2-0 this month in his 4 starts. He gave up only 1 run and 4 hits in 6 innings against the Indians on Tuesday.
Liriano may have problems, in particular, with Jhonny Peralta, who is 13 of 25 over his last 7 games and is 8 of 13 with 2 HRs and 7 RBIs in this series. He is hitting .438 in his last 21 games against the Twins. Against Liriano, he is 8 of 26 with 2 HRs.
Some betting trends:
The total has gone OVER in 4 of the Tigers’ last 5 games and the Tigers are 4-2 SU in their last 6 games. The Tigers are 6-2 SU in their last 8 on the road and they are 11-1 SU in their last 12 games against the Minnesota Twins. The total has gone OVER in 6 of the last 8 against the Minneosta Twins, and it has also gone OVER In 5 of the last 6 on the road against the Twins. The Tigers are 8-16 SU in their last 24 games on the road against the Twins and the Tigers are 5-1 SU in their last 6 on the road against the Twins.
The Twins are 15-8 SU in their last 23 games and they are 17-8 SU in their last 25 at home. The Twins are 1-11 SU In their last 12 games against the Tigers and the total has gone OVER in 6 of the last 8 at home against the Tigers. It has also gone OVER In 5 of the last 6 at home against the Detroit Tigers while the Twins are 1-5 SU in their last 6 games at home against Detroit. The Twins are 16-8 SU in their last 24 games at home against the Tigers.
There isn’t a lot of value in the total at 8.5, which seems pretty accurate given the fact that both pitcher’s have ERAs in the mid 4s. The Twins should win this game, and are slight favorites, but with the teams so evenly matched, the odds aren’t particularly enticing either way.