Thursday MLB Plays
July 4, 2013
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It's the 4th of July and that means plenty of baseball action all day. But here are two games going on tonight that have really gotten my attention:
Detroit (-150) vs. Toronto (+130); Total set at 8.5
Pitchers: Justin Verlander vs. Esmil Rogers
This is the lone game that's not being played on American soil on the country's birthday and Toronto will try to use their home field advantage to get a split in this four-game series.
Toronto won Game 1 on Monday but has since lost the next two and has the unenviable task of trying to earn a split against the Tigers with Verlander on the hill. However, beating Verlander this season hasn't been as tough a task as in the past as the Tigers are only 9-8 SU in his 17 starts this year. Detroit is also 1-3 SU in his last four starts with Verlander only lasting five innings in two of them. There are also rumblings that Miguel Cabrera will be given the night off to rest today ahead of their big series with Cleveland this weekend and if he is out that is another huge plus for the Jays.
Toronto has slowly been learning to take advantage of these opportunities when they arise this season and I believe they will again tonight. Detroit is only 3-7 SU in their last 10 games following a win and Toronto is 5-1 SU in Rogers' last six starts. The Jays can't afford to get in another slump after their long win streak at the end of June got them back in the playoff conversation. Beating a strong team like the Tigers with Verlander on the hill would be a huge confidence boost for the Jays going into the weekend and they will find a way to get the win.
Take Toronto on the ML.
Seattle (+120) vs. Texas (-130); Total set at 8.5
Pitchers: Hisashi Iwakuma vs. Martin Perez
Hisashi Iwakuma was the surprise story out of Seattle for the first two months of the season as he was dominating opponents anywhere he went and was considered a "1-b" option in the Mariners rotation behind Felix Hernandez. But things have gone south lately as teams are starting to figure him out and knock him all around the diamond. Iwakuma has an ERA of 5.40 in his last three starts and allowed an average of 6.7/game in that span. The month of June was a rough one for him as the only team that scored less than five runs against the Mariners in his starts was the Houston Astros. He did go eight strong innings last time out in a 5-4 win but again that was against another weak team in the Cubs.
Tonight he faces a frustrated Texas team who is trying to avoid getting swept in their own building and stay within a game of Oakland for 1st in the AL West. They have already lost twice to Iwakuma this year but both came earlier in the season and both were at Seattle. The Rangers Ballpark in Arlington is a much more hitter-friendly place and with Iwakuma's recent struggles I don't believe he will keep Texas down tonight.
The Rangers are 16-5 SU the last 21 times they've lost the first two games of a series and do not want to end this homestand with a sub-.500 record.
Take Texas on the ML.