Detroit Tigers (66-54) +130, o/u 9 at New York Yankees (67-53), 7:05 pm Eastern Thursday
A couple of teams in the thick of the American League playoff races hook up
when the Detroit Tigers visit the New York Yankees for the opener of a four-game
series Thursday night at Yankee Stadium.
After splitting a two-game set with the Cleveland Indians this week, Detroit is still tied with the Tribe for first place in the AL’s Central Division.
And after dropping two of three to the Baltimore Orioles, New York now trails the Boston Red Sox by five games in the AL East.
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However, the Yanks are tied with the Seattle Mariners for the lead in the AL wild-card race.
New York has been hot, going a Major League-best 24-10 since the All-Star break. On the other side, the Tigers are just 6-14 over their last 20 games.
Last year, Detroit beat the Yankees in four games in the divisional round of the AL play-offs. But New York won the season series with the Tigers five games to two. Also, the o/u went 5-6 in the 11 games these two teams played vs. one another last year.
Somewhat strangely, this weekend’s series is the first meeting between these two teams this season.
Detroit is 36-26 on the road this season, which matches the New York Mets for the best road mark in the majors. The Tigers are also 16-15 as underdogs this year.
The Yanks are 38-23 at home this season and 63-44 as favorites.
Detroit will throw Justin Verlander (12-4, 3.58) Thursday night while New York will counter with Mike Mussina (8-7, 4.50). The Tigers are 16-7 when Verlander starts this season, the o/u 14-7, while the Yankees are 10-10 in Mussina’s starts, the o/u 8-10.
Verlander started twice vs. New York last season, including once in that play-off series, allowing nine ER and 22 baserunners (hits + walks) in just 10 1/3 IP. But Detroit won both of those games.
Meanwhile, Mussina started twice vs. the Tigers last year, including once in the play-offs, giving up four ER and 15 baserunners in 16 IP.
Detroit owns a .345 team OBP this year, which ranks as fifth-best in the majors, and is averaging 5.7 runs per game.
The Yankees lead the league with their .366 team OBP, and are averaging 5.9 RPG.
The Tigers bullpen has allowed three ER and 23 baserunners in its last 15 innings of work.
The New York pen has given up 10 ER and 25 baserunners over its last 17 IP.
Bettors may want to check out Detroit’s starting line-up before this game starts; a flu bug made a run through the Tigers’ clubhouse recently, and several players were bitten.
The o/u is 65-47 in Detroit games this season, 55-54 in New York games and 29-26 in games played at Yankee Stadium.
The Predictem.com Pick: A flu bugged team, on the road, vs. a hot team? We’re laying the wood with the Yanks despite the line creeping towards detroit, down to -141 from the opening line of -150.