On Monday, the Detroit Tigers will host the Tampa Bay Rays in the first of a huge series at Tropicana Field. Both teams are coming off a sweep three game sweep over the weekend. The Tigers come into the game 4.5 games ahead of the Indians and 5 ahead of the White Sox in the American League Central. The Rays are fighting in the American League East and are 8 games behind the Yankees, and 7.5 behind the Red Sox for the wildcard. Justin Verlander will take on Jeff Niemann in this affair.
Tampa Bay Rays (+128)
Tampa Bay came from behind on Friday to complete the sweep of the Seattle Mariners. Johnny Damon hit a walk-off solo homerun to cap off the win for Tampa Bay. The Rays have won five straight games, and are looking to make a run at the postseason. The Rays are led by Casey Kotchman and his .328 batting average. Evan Longoria is also a key catalyst for the offense, as he leads the way with 20 homeruns and 72 runs batted in. Jeff Niemann will make his 17th start of the season. Niemann is 8-4 on the year with a 3.29 earned run average. Niemann made a start on August 16th in Boston, where he allowed 3 hits and 2 earned runs in a win. He has won his last four starts.
Detroit Tigers (-136)
The Detroit Tigers will send the leader in wins, in all of Major League Baseball to the mound. Justin Verlander is 18-5 on the season, with a 2.31 earned run average. The Tigers ace has won his last six starts, including six straight starts with 7 innings or more. Verlander holds a 101-57 career record as a starting pitcher. The Tigers have climbed to a 4.5 game lead over the Indians, after winning three straight wins against Cleveland. Detroit is the third best hitting team in the league, batting .270 on the year. The Tigers are led by the combination of Victor Martinez and Miguel Cabrera. Martinez, the catcher, is batting .324, while Cabrera has blasted 23 homeruns and 81 runs batted in.
This should be a really exciting game, between two red-hot teams. The Tigers want to keep winning, to create some space in the division. Tampa Bay has to win a bunch of games to stay in contention for the postseason. The offenses will be held at bay in this one, as both pitchers have done a great job recently. When it comes down to it, Justin Verlander is just too tough to hit. The Rays will struggle to scratch runs across. Look for Detroit to score a couple runs late, and win a low scoring game. We are betting the Detroit Tigers to beat the Tampa Bay Rays on Monday night at Tropicana Field.
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