Verlander's Shoulder a Big Concern for Tigers Down the Stretch
By: Matty Simo
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Oh, how the mighty have fallen. That is, if you are the
Detroit Tigers. But has Detroit really gone downhill, or is this just a small
slump that should not be a cause for concern?
Just last week, the Tigers were the favorites to win the
World Series at the LVH SuperBook in Las Vegas. Now Detroit has dropped
slightly from 7/2 to 4/1 to win the World Series, but the bigger issue is that
the Kansas City Royals appear to be a real threat to win the American League
Central and end the team's bid for a fourth consecutive division title.
The Royals have won eight straight games and just took over
the lead in the AL Central by a half-game thanks in part to the Tigers losing
three in a row and five of six. It has become a real possibility that Detroit
could miss out on the playoffs altogether with the Los Angeles Angels, Seattle
Mariners, Toronto Blue Jays and New York Yankees all within three games of each
other for the two AL Wild Card spots.
"I really like the Royals," Don
Best COO and oddsmaker Kenny White said. "Only made five Season Win Total plays
at the beginning of the season, and they were one of them (OVER 82). But I
think the Tigers are a better team and would be a -127 favorite on a neutral
field with equal pitchers going."
Despite their slump, the Tigers
(-162) remain No. 3 in this week's Don Best Advantage MLB Power Ratings behind
only the top-rated Oakland Athletics (-195) and Angels (-183). The Royals
(-108) moved up two spots into a tie for No. 14 with the Cincinnati Reds, and
they continue an important four-game set with the A's from Tuesday through
Thursday after taking the series opener 3-2 on Monday. Kansas City does not
face Detroit again until starting a three-game series on Sept. 8 at Comerica Park.
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and view all MLB Power Ratings.
The bigger concern for the
Tigers is the status of former ace Justin Verlander (10-11, 4.76 ERA), who is
set to have an MRI on his pitching shoulder after lasting just one inning and
giving up five runs (four earned) in an 11-6 loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates on
Monday. Some might call it the curse of girlfriend Kate Upton, but Verlander is
suffering through one of his worst seasons and may finish with a losing record
for the first time since 2008 when he went 11-17 with a 4.84 ERA.
Click here to check the latest
MLB injury report for news on Verlander.