The Detroit Tigers and New York Mets finish their mid-week interleague series on Thursday afternoon. The Mets will try not to look past this game with the hated Yankees coming up this weekend.
The local broadcast from Comerica Park will be an early 10:05 a.m. (PT). Detroit sends out the red-hot Justin Verlander (10-3, 2.38 ERA) against Mike Pelfrey (4-6, 4.78 ERA).
This is the second series between the teams since 2007. The Mets took two of three at home last year and got off on the right foot Tuesday with a 14-3 win. Wednesday’s middle game is still pending with Detroit a 130 favorite behind hard-luck hurler Phil Coke (1-7).
The Tigers (43-37) had a 3-game winning streak snapped on Tuesday and is clinging to a 1-game lead over Cleveland in the AL Central standings. They’re getting the job done at home overall (25-16, +4.8 units) and haven’t lost a home series since Boston in late May.
Detroit is 5-8 during interleague Play this year, with the ‘over’ 8-3-2.
Verlander pitching the series finale is a case of saving the best for last. He’s been virtually unhittable the last six starts, going 6-0 with a 0.73 ERA, lasting at least 7 2/3 innings each time with two complete games.
The ‘under’ is 5-1 in Verlander’s last six starts.
The 28-year-old right-hander had a poor home start against Tampa on May 24, allowing six earned runs over six innings, but Detroit still got a 7-6 win. His other nine home outings have all been quality starts with a combined 1.70 ERA.
Verlander’s one career start against the Mets was a forgettable one, lasting just two innings and allowing five earned runs last year in New York.
The Mets (40-39) are over .500 and have won 3-straight, but are only in third place in the tough NL East, 9.5 games back of Philadelphia. They lead the NL in runs scored this month (5.24 per game) despite playing without injured third basemen David Wright (back) and first baseman Ike Davis (ankle).
The ‘over’ is 3-0 in New York’s last three games, scoring a whopping 36 runs.
Shortstop Jose Reyes (.922 OBP) and outfielder Carlos Beltran (.862) have been the team’s best offensive players this year. That’s ironic as both are former stars who’ve dealt with multiple injury problems the last couple of years. Both have also been prominently mentioned in trade rumors.
New York is 7-6 during interleague play this year, with the ‘over’ going 5-2 in away games (8-5 overall).
Pelfrey has the highest ERA of the Mets starters. It would be great to have the injured Johan Santana (shoulder) come back and lead the rotation, but the starters haven’t been bad overall (3.81 ERA, seventh in the NL).
The 27-year-old Pelfrey is having trouble matching last year’s career season (15-9, 3.66 ERA). He’s already given up more homers (14) than all of last season (12), including 12 in his last 11 starts. However, he still has seven quality starts in those 11 outings (3.98 ERA overall).
New York is just 5-11 in Pelfrey’s starts, 1-8 on the road (6.65 ERA). He hasn’t pitched horribly in his last three road outings (3.79 ERA), but still lost all three. This is his first career appearance against Detroit.
The Mets are 8-4 in their last 12 road games and 22-19 for the year (+10.6 units). That’s the second most road profits in the NL.
Weather should be clear and in the 70s. Both teams start their final interleague series on Friday. Detroit hosts defending champion San Francisco, while the Mets welcome the Bronx Bombers as mentioned above.