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June 20, 2016

There is one pick tonight.

Take Seattle Mariners (-138) on the ML against Detroit Tigers risking 4.14% to win 3%.
(Karns and Pelfrey must start for wager to have action)

Not only is this a pitching mismatch, the Mariners are simply the better team. On top of that, the intangibles also favor the visiting club as the Tigers are coming off a gut-wretching 13 innings defeat! Detroit wasted another quality start from Jordan Zimmermann and will be dejected after letting their division rivals, Royals, steal one. They could have pulled a full game closer to the World Series champs but instead let another opportunity go by, in a manner that has occured far too often! Brad Ausmus is under pressure as the Tigers manager and that's because in his time in charge, bullpen problems and late meltdowns have been the norm and not the exception. For Detroit to fall below a .500 record when they had battled so hard to get there will be deflating, especially as now find themselves 4.5 games behind division leaders, Cleveland Indians. Playing 13 innings is taxing both on the pitching staff and position players and to battle so hard but fall just short can be extremely disappointing. To make matters worse, they've had to travel for this game (returning home from Kansas City) and will now have the pressure of home fans to deal with.

The starting pitching matchup is one that favors Seattle as well. Nathan Karns is 5-2 on the season and has generally pitched well this season. The former Ray know how to mix his pitches well and is a competitive character. His grit and determination has been on display for a couple of years now and he has better stuff than his counterpart, Mike Pelfrey. Pelfrey is no doubt Detroit's worst hurler and sports an ugly 1-7 record on the season! His 4.79 ERA is hardly impressive but is actually flattering him as his FIP which is a better indicator of how he's pitched sits even higher, at 5.34! His problems stem from the fact that he's not striking anybody out and yet he doesn't have the best command either, issuing free passes here and there. His 1.17 K/BB ratio is the second worst in the Majors among qualified starters! To make matters even more difficult, Seattle batters have had his number in prior meetings. This current M's lineup has 25 hits and 11 walks collectively against Pelfrey in just 76 prior at-bats! That is equivalent to a .329 batting average and a .435 on-base percentage! Unless the defense can help him out greatly by turning multiple double-plays, we don't see him being able to navigate this tough Seattle lineup.

The Mariners are a good team this season and their run differential proves that they are even better than their record currently suggests. And yet they will be incredibly motivated in this contest, since they are coming off 2 straight losses! They took the opener against the Red Sox and we expect them to start their road trip to Detroit with a 'W' as well, going up against the Tigers' most hittable hurler. Not only is Karns capable of out-dueling and outlasting Pelfrey, the M's bullpen has been much more reliable than Detroit relievers this season. No lead has been safe enough for the Tigers 'pen and although we don't expect them to be ahead in the final innings, it gives us another backdoor opportunity, should they have their usual late game issues, especially the day after a lengthy 13-inning game with travel involved! Look for Seattle to snap its losing streak and improve to 37-33 while the Tigers drop one more game behind a .500 record for the time being. The Mariners have too many advantages in this matchup and should have been installed as heavy favorites in our opinion.

Other notable facts to consider:

  • Tigers are just 14-20 after a loss this season.
  • Mariners are 18-9 as a road favorite in the -125 to -150 range over the last 3 seasons!
  • Mariners are 12-0 since April 2013 as a road favorite after a game as an underdog in which they struck out 10 or more times!

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