The Detroit Tigers had the opportunity to pick up their first sweep of the season yesterday, but after an inexcusable mishandling of a weather delay, they ended up not playing the game at all. Detroit has still won three straight and will now play host to the Guardians, and we’ll preview the game before going over which side I’ll be backing in this one.
Until the Tigers' first game of the series against the Giants, they had only managed to score seven runs in a game just once, but the Detroit offense did it in back-to-back games against San Francisco. The team still ranks 28th in batting average and 30th in average runs per game, but they managed to bail out their pitching staff on Friday and Saturday.
Tonight the Tigers will look to continue their win streak by sending Matthew Boyd to the mound for his third start of the year. The lefty has thrown nine innings up to this point and has a 4.00 ERA with seven strikeouts and seven walks. One of the only Guardians players that Boyd has faced consistently in his career is Jose Ramirez, as they have faced off 44 times in their careers, with Ramirez hitting .290 in that span.
The Guardians were given the opportunity to actually play yesterday and also could pick up their first sweep, but they fell 7-6 to the Nationals due to a late-game bullpen collapse. Cleveland’s lineup did have a solid series by scoring a combined 16 runs over the three games. First baseman Josh Bell looks to have turned a corner from his early season struggles as he picked up two hits in all three games with an RBI in each.
On the mound tonight for Cleveland will be young right-hander Hunter Gaddis, who will be getting his fourth start of the year. In his 12.7 innings this season, the righty has an 8.53 ERA with 11 strikeouts and five walks. Gaddis struggled in his last start against the Yankees, as he only lasted three innings while giving up eight hits and eight earned runs.
Cleveland can be found on the moneyline at (-121), and I’ll be backing them for my play in this one. The Guardians have a .719 OPS against lefties this season and have hit better on the road up to this point. Cleveland doesn’t have many team-hitting numbers that jump off the page, but they are a scrappy lineup that is fourth in walks and above league average in on-base percentage.
Entering tonight, Matthew Boyd is in the 10th percentile in walk percentage, 24th percentile in strikeout percentage, and 30th percentile in whiff percentage. Boyd faced the Guardians in a relief appearance last year and had three walks in one inning against them. Cleveland’s lineup looked solid over the weekend, and I think they are one of the worst matchups in the league for a pitcher struggling with command.
Hunter Gaddis may not have numbers that would have you running to your sportsbook to bet on them every time he’s pitching, but his advanced metrics give some hope. The righty is in the 77th percentile in hard hit percentage, 85th percentile in barrel percentage, and 76th percentile in xSLG. Opponents are not getting a lot of solid contact against him, and I don’t trust Detroit put together rallies against Gaddis and the Guardians' bullpen.
Cleveland Guardians (-121)