MLB- Seattle at Detroit (7:05 ET, MLB.TV)



2007-09-14

Two American League teams square off gasping for air as their divisional dreams are going up in smoke. To make matter worse, both Seattle and Detroit, besides being seven and six games back in respective divisions, are trailing the Yankees in the wild card chase.

The loser of this series will further damage their chances of making the postseason and could start to be starting to play out the string though not officially eliminated. Neither has done much to help them selves in this critical stretch of the season, especially Seattle who has incurred more losses lately than washed up dead fish on the shores of the Puget Sound. The Mariners have lost 11 of 12, with the Tigers not nearly as bad yet still a rather unsightly 4-5 at this important time.

Why Mariners cover – One of the reasons Seattle might play well tonight and in this series is an attitude adjustment. Not many people look forward to playing in Detroit other than the Tigers players, but for Mariners players this is the last stop on a very trying schedule that has seen them play 17 of the last 20 games on the road. “It has been trying in a lot of ways," manager John McLaren said of the past two weeks, “But you haven't heard one of our players use it as an excuse.” After a couple of rough outings, Miguel Batista (13-10, 4.59) bounced back in last trip up the hill allowing one run in a seven inning no-decision that ended in loss to Toronto. Seattle arrives in MoTown with an 8-3 (+10.2 Units) record against the money line as a road underdog of +150 to +200 this season. While the record is not quite as good as it earlier in the season, the M’s are still 21-14 after having lost two of their last three games this season. The Mariners offense has been a compelling reason for the team’s failures, however the Detroit bats have been cooled with 4-10 (-9.7 Units) mark against the ML in home games after scoring four runs or less three straight games.

Why Tigers cover – While it has been easy to pinpoint Seattle’s slide, Detroit’s descent has been more gradual if not more painful. The Tigers will make another attempt at winning three in a row for the first time since July 19, when they just had complete sweep of Minnesota for fourth straight win. Detroit will have elements in there favor starting with tonight’s starting pitcher, ace Justin Verlander (15-5, 3.67). Verlander was considered a good not great prospect, but has turned out to be among the best pitchers in the American League at a young age. He and his teammates are 16-3 against the ML after two or more consecutive wins over the last couple seasons. The Tigers are 16-5 after scoring and allowing three runs or less in 2007 and Seattle is miserable 16-33 after two straight games where they stranded five or less runners on base.

Top Totals Trends – Seattle is 40-23 OVER after allowing eight runs or more over the last two seasons. Detroit is 10-1 OVER vs. an AL starting pitcher whose WHIP is 1.500 to 1.600 this season.

Sportsbook.com Line – Detroit -163, Total – Un9.5

Pick – As both teams continue to flounder, one of them will have to step up this weekend and win the series. Having a pitcher with the numbers and resume of Verlander has is tough to bet against, especially with a team slumping as badly as Seattle. With Verlander and Detroit 40-21 since he burst on to the scene, playing the Tigers tonight is the best bet.

MLB.TV will have the opening pitch of the A.L. showdown starting at 7:05 Eastern. The Betting Trends page will offer plenty of information for you to absorb to make this a winning day not only today, but all weekend long.

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