Tigers vs. Guardians Odds, Picks, Predictions: Can Shane Bieber Keep Detroit’s Offense at Bay? (Saturday, May 21)
David Berding/Getty Images. Pictured: Shane Bieber
- The Guardians are strong favorites tonight on the road against the Tigers.
- Shane Bieber takes the mound for Cleveland and will be opposed by Detroit rookie Alex Faedo.
- Continue reading for a full breakdown of this matchup, including a betting pick.
Tigers vs. Guardians Odds
|Time||6:10 p.m. ET|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.|
The Detroit Tigers are in one of their funks again as they’ve failed to score more than one run in three straight ball games. Things won’t get any easier for the Tigers as they get to face Cleveland’s ace, Shane Bieber.
Detroit will counter with rookie right-hander Alex Faedo, who’s looked impressive in his first three starts. However, Faedo’s pitch selection could be disastrous in this matchup against the Guardians.
I’ll expand on that and explain why you should consider fading Faedo in the first five innings of Saturday’s contest.
Tigers’ Offense Searching For Answers
It’s been a rough start for Detroit after last year’s third-place divisional finish with a 77-85 record. The Tigers exceeded their win total by 9.5 games, which prompted bookmakers to set this season’s number at 79.5.
However, Detroit is 13-26 on the year and on pace to win just 54 games. The offense has mainly been the culprit as the Tigers rank 29th with a wRC+ value of 79. Detroit is also struggling to hit for power, considering it ranks dead last with a .095 ISO.
To better understand Detroit’s slow start, I scanned a few of their local papers, and it seems even the media is struggling to put things into context. I saw plenty of blame placed on the Tigers’ defense or the injuries to their pitchers, but no one could adequately explain why the offense has been so inefficient. Is the problem down to the players, or are the coaches simply struggling to get their message across?
Tigers manager A.J. Hinch is in his second season with the club. He still has some cachet after winning a World Series with the Astros in 2017. As a result, I don’t think Detroit will make a rash move to fire him. However, it wouldn’t hurt to see the Tigers take a different approach at the plate.
With Detroit still struggling to hit, it might make sense to be a bit more patient at the plate and try to draw some walks. The Tigers are currently tied for 27th with a 7.3% walk rate.
It’ll be interesting to see if the Tigers can get some free passes against Bieber tonight. Their current lineup has nine walks in 92 at-bats, which results in a .321 OBP against him. However, Detroit is hitting just .139 against him with a .228 SLG.
Guardians Can Neutralize Faedo’s Strengths
It’s been quite the journey for Faedo in getting to the majors. The 18th overall pick in the 2017 MLB Draft was on the cusp of getting a call-up in 2020 but tested positive for the COVID-19 and spent 20 days quarantine. The virus took a lot out of Faedo as he lost nearly 30 pounds.
After a brief return, Faedo was shut down due to forearm tightness, leading to Tommy John surgery. However, Faedo feels he got injured because of the pressure on his pitching arm after losing so much weight. With a lengthy rehab in front of him, Faedo missed the entire 2021 season.
Now that he’s finally in the big leagues, Faedo ‘s hit the ground running. Through three starts, he’s 0-1 with a 2.87 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP. He pitched at least five innings in each of his starts, and in his last outing, he pitched into the sixth.
While those numbers look good on the surface, a closer look at his advanced numbers (3.99 FIP, 3.92 xFIP) points to some regression. Given the opponent on Saturday, it wouldn’t surprise me if we start to see some of that start to play out.
Faedo’s pitch arsenal includes a four-seamer (49.6%), slider (30.6%) and changeup (19.8%). An early scouting report from Prospects Live indicated that the slider is his best pitch and that judgment looks sound as it has a whiff rate of 44.4% in the majors. However, his changeup has also been effective as opposing batters hit .143 against the pitch.
The problem is the Guardians are practically elite against the two pitches. According to FanGraphs, Cleveland is a league-best 13.5 runs above average when facing a slider. And against the changeup, the Guardians rank fifth as they’re scoring 4.9 runs above average.
Although Cleveland is 7.1 runs below average against the fastball, the offense can still have success against Faedo, given that it’s his worst pitch. Faedo doesn’t overpower hitters with his fastball velocity (93 mph), as they’re batting .385 against him with a .498 wOBA.
I think this is a tough matchup for the Tigers and their rookie right-hander, given the opponent. As a result, I’d look to isolate Faedo by playing against him in the first five innings.
Since the Guardians are as high as a -195 moneyline favorite, if we back the Guardians on the first five run line (F5 RL), we can avoid the hefty tax on the juice.
Historically, Bieber’s had success on the F5 RL against the Tigers as the Guardians are 6-2 for 2.53 units in this spot.
Multiple books offer Cleveland’s RL at -0.5 / -125, so you shouldn’t have any trouble shopping for the best line.
Pick: Guardians F5 RL -0.5 (-125)
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