Tigers @ Angels on 5/12

Hello, Sports Fans! We are now in the heart of the Major League Baseball season and will over the next couple months be looking at some interesting match ups from the diamond with a free selection each trip. The first entry takes us to the American League for Tigers @ Angels Friday night. Let’s take a look…

DETROIT: The Tigers (17-16, 8-9 road) find themselves in the middle of a very contested AL Central pack through the first fifth of the season, relying on the 3rd-best offense in the AL. 37 homers and a team slugging mark of .416 have added up to 5.00 runs per game led LF Jason Upton (.262, 7 HR, 19 RBI) and 3B Nick Castellanos who continues to improve in his 4th year, leading the squad in hits, doubles, triples, and RBIs. Manager Brad Asmus can also rely on strong offensive production at his former catcher position where McCann and Avila have combined for 11 homers and 29 ribbies.

Pitching, however, has been a real need with Detroit holding the next to last position in the Majors with a bloated 4.83 ERA. One of their biggest under-performers, RHP Jordan Zimmerman (3-1, 6.21 ERA, 1.53 WHIP), takes the hill tonight. From his days as one of the league’s best young arms with the Nationals, Zim has tumbled in his switch to the Junior Circuit. Poor control leading to too much contact remains the issue with 41 hits yielded through 33 1/3 innings. The Tigers paid $110 million over 5 years for this 2-time All Star and owner of a no-hitter but haven’t seen that guy since early 2016.

LOS ANGELES: The Angels (17-20, 10-7 home) have struggled all season from the plate, ranking 26th in runs per game (3.70), 23rd in batting average (.233), and 28th in slugging (.359). CF Mike Trout again leads the squad in most offensive categories, hitting .342 (.433 OBP, .675 SLG) with 8 homers and 10 doubles but he doesn’t have much support. DH Pujols is still getting the runs in with 25 RBI but is only hitting .239 as trade off. 3B Junel Escobar (.272, 17 RBI) has been a rare bright spot, already equaling his 2016 total of 5 long balls.

Pitching has been hit or miss this season for Manager Billy Eppler. His crew boasts the league’s 5th-best WHIP at 1.247 due to just 3.03 walks allowed per game but only manages the 19th-best ERA, getting positively clobbered by 1.46 homers allowed per game. Only the Phillies allow more long balls. Tonight’s starter, RHP Matt Shoemaker (1-2, 5.21 ERA) is a decent example. Not as stingy as his teammates with the free passes (18) but has only allowed a very respectable 33 hits over 38 innings pitched. The problem is control has led to 9 of those 33 going over the wall – already half the number he allowed all of last year.

FREE SELECTION: Pitching often beats hitting and Zimmerman has been very poor but we just can’t lay the favorite price on an offense as poor at that of the Angels while supported by another struggling starter. Take Detroit +130.

Pick up tonight’s Free Selection at the TOTALS 4 YOU HOMEPAGE

– TD at Totals 4 You

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