OAKLAND ATHLETICS (84-62)
at DETROIT TIGERS (77-69)
First pitch: Tuesday, 7:05 p.m. EDT
Line: Detroit -150, Oakland +140, Total: 7½
With the Tigers sitting three games out in the AL Central and 5½ games behind the A’s and the Orioles in the AL Wild Card, they will host Oakland Tuesday for a three-game set kicking off a 10-game homestand.
The A’s enter this game as heavy underdogs with rookie A.J. Griffin on the mound, though his recent performances make that line curious. Standing at 6-0 with a 1.94 ERA on the season, Griffin is 3-0 with an 0.89 ERA and 0.79 WHIP in his past three starts. He showed no trouble pitching against a playoff contender his last time out, tossing eight shutout innings in a 4-1 win over the Angels last Wednesday. He will get a tough battle from Max Scherzer, however, who has been just as hot with a 6-0 record and 1.29 ERA over his past seven starts. But he’s facing an Oakland squad that has won eight of its past 10 while Detroit has been cold with a 4-6 record in the same span. Take the money and OAKLAND to win this one.
This rare pair of four-star FoxSheets trends also favor the A’s:
OAKLAND is 31-17 (64.6%, +22.0 Units) against the money line vs. a starting pitcher who strikes out 5 or more batters per start this season. The average score was OAKLAND 4.2, OPPONENT 3.7 - (Rating = 4*).
OAKLAND is 47-20 (70.1%, +29.7 Units) against the money line in the second half of the season this season. The average score was OAKLAND 4.8, OPPONENT 3.6 - (Rating = 4*).
The A’s are 2-2 against the Tigers this season but 4-2 against them in Detroit over the past three years. Griffin has succeeded with his ridiculously good K-to-BB ratio that is near 5-to-1 right now (53 K’s, 11 BB). And pitching on the road is no problem for him either, where he has a 1.15 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 4-0 record, averaging 6.3 innings per start compared to 5.9 overall. Even if he doesn’t make it deep in this game, the Oakland bullpen has been nothing short of fantastic. Athletics relievers have a 2.90 ERA on the season with a 1.17 WHIP, already having notched 42 saves and a 24-11 record (.686) in 2012. Take these heavy underdogs.
Scherzer has been nothing short of spectacular lately with 60 strikeouts in his past 49 innings, giving him an majors-best 220 K’s in just 176.2 innings pitched this year. Like Griffin, he is better on the road than at his pitchers’ park at home, going 7-2 (team is 9-3) with a 3.36 ERA and 1.20 WHIP in 12 away starts. And just like the A’s, Detroit also has a stellar bullpen that has a 3.68 ERA and 35 saves in 2012. That bullpen ERA is even better on the road at 3.14, where the relievers sport a 15-8 record. Scherzer whiffed nine and allowed two earned runs in a 10-6 win against the A’s earlier this year on May 10, and now owns a 2-1 career record with a 3.71 ERA and 1.24 WHIP in three career starts in this series. While the Tigers are a dominant home team with a 43-28 record (.606, 5th-best in majors), the A’s are 41-32 (.562) on the road, tying them with Baltimore for the best away record in the American League. Play against heavily favored Detroit here.