Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 12:45 PM EST.
7:10 PM EST. The Tigers lost more than just the game last night and their grip on second place in the AL Central, as star first baseman Miguel Cabrera is now out for the rest of the season after he ruptured a bicep tendon on a funky swing chasing a Jake Odorizzi slider. Tigers' manager Ron Gardenhire said, "It's a blow," and "It's a very sad day for our baseball team." Mindset is everything, especially over the course of a 162 game season, so one has to wonder what the mood will be around the Detroit clubhouse for the next few days as the team adjusts to life without Miggy. Sure, he was injured for most of May, but there was a light at the end of that tunnel. The Tigers had quietly been playing some good ball, so Cabrera's return was a positive addition. Players of Miggy's caliber don't just walk in off the street and he will be hard to replace.
Enter Matt Boyd (LHP), who will have to set the tone for his team on the mound tonight. The 27-year-old is coming off his first win of the season, which came in a game where he limited the Red Sox to two runs on four hits over 6.1 frames. While that most recent result, as well as his ERA of 3.20 look good on paper, a closer inspection shows that Boyd is pitching well over his head. Boyd has a below average strikeout rate of 6.91 K/9 and he's also issuing plenty of free passes with a 3.33 BB/9 walk rate. His xERA is a bloated 5.01 and the reason his actual ERA is so much lower than his surface number is because he's not giving up home runs, but with a poor groundball rate of 30.3%, the dingers are coming.
If there's one reason that José Berríos (RHP) might not be priced like the elite pitcher he is, is because of a lifetime ERA of 8.49 against these Tigers. A record of just 7-5 this season also might not inspire, but wins and losses are meaningless and the under the hood numbers tell the true story. For Berrios, there is no debate; he is among the elite. Berrios has 84 punchouts in 83.2 innings, while issuing just 14 free passes. His xERA of 3.42 is right in line with his actual 3.66 ERA. A first-pitch strike percentage of 64.7 sandwiches him between stellar company with a pair of today's starters, Chris Sale (66.1%) and Jacob deGrom (64.5%), but he is nowhere near priced in the range of Sale despite also having a favorable matchup. Anytime we can get a discount on a top-flight starter we are going to take it and that is the situation we are presented with here.
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Minnesota -1½ +109 (Risking 2 units - To Win: 2.18)