Verlander's Shoulder a Big Concern for Tigers Down the Stretch

By: Matty Simo | Tuesday, August 12, 2014
Power Ratings

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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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.

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