I always did well at the the plate when it was my birthday, so why wouldn’t I throw a couple of winners out there for you. Plus-money plays on my birthday!!!
Detroit Tigers (+155) @ Cleveland Indians (-175) | O/U: 8
Michael Fulmer (1-1, 0.68 ERA) vs. Trevor Bauer (0-1, 2.08 ERA)
6:10 p.m. ET
It hasn’t been a secret at all: The Indians have not hit a lick to start this season. On Wednesday night, Yonder Alonso finally ended a teamwide 0-for-23 slump with runners in scoring position. They were dead-last in wOBA (weighted on-base average) going into last night, but came out of their slide with five runs against the Tigers’ bullpen after Jordan Zimmermann was struck in the face by a comebacker (thank God he was able to walk back to the dugout on his own).
Detroit’s offense hasn’t been much better — it was second-to-last in wOBA heading into last night — and Trevor Bauer has been good in his first two starts. He absolutely dominated the Royals in his last outing. He’s going up against Michael Fulmer, who has been just as good as Bauer. He took a tough loss against the Pirates and actually pitched a little worse in his next start, but got the win.
Two things are hard to ignore with Fulmer.
- His numbers before the All-Star break. Fulmer had a 3.19 ERA before the break and a 5.33 ERA after the Midsummer Classic. In 2016, his first-half ERA was even better, as he was 9-2 with a 2.11 ERA.
- Fulmer’s left-handed splits are even more amazing! In 2016, lefties hit .222 against him, and his ERA is a run lower than against righties. In 2017, the lefties adjusted to even out the splits, but the ERA was just a fraction worse than when he faced right-handed hitters. Very unusual for a right-handed starter.
Terry Francona ran out five left-handed hitters and a pair of switch-hitters Wednesday. I realize the lineup may change, but if Fulmer gets to pitch to five, six or seven lefties, he will be tough to beat. I know Bauer is nasty, but he can be had.
I’ll take my shot and take that +155 with the Tigers!