The All-Star break is officially over, however T-Mobile Park is still full of action as the Detroit Tigers play the Seattle Mariners tonight. Detroit is 39-50 and are currently sitting third in a weak AL Central division. Meanwhile, Seattle sits in third in the AL West at 45-44 in one of the toughest divisions this year. This is a key game to set up the momentum for the second half of the season, and it’s one you won’t want to miss. Read on for relevant odds information heading into this matchup as well as a formal betting prediction.
Tigers vs. Mariners Prediction
Tigers vs. Mariners Best Bet: Mariners run line (+120)
Detroit continues to struggle at the plate. Riley Greene is leading the team with a .305 batting average but he’s played just two games in the last 30 days. Of players who are averaging 3.1 plate appearances per game this season, Zach McKinstry leads with a .247/.326/.368 slash line. Aside from that, they have just two players who have hit double-digit home runs, ranking them 25th in the league in total home runs and 29th in slugging percentage (.367). They’re facing a Mariners pitching staff with a 3.74 ERA, 47 quality starts (most in MLB) and a 1.17 WHIP.
Perhaps Detroit’s biggest problem is the inconsistencies in their lineup. Just four players – McKinstry, Javier Baez, Nick Maton, and Spencer Torkelson – have played 70 games or more this year, and one of them (Maton) got optioned to Triple-A in late June. They may be better off riding with a more consistent lineup to develop confidence and chemistry, because the constant changing clearly isn’t working. They’ve dropped two straight series heading into this game, one of which was against the A’s.
Meanwhile the Mariners have had a promising start in July. Be it early, they are on an impressive series win streak, and not an easy one – they rolled over the Astros, Giants, and Rays heading into the All-Star break. They’re team slash line is up considerably from June (.230/.308/.394) to July (.266/.349/.439) and they have a different leader in each of the top five batting categories.
On the mound, the Mariners remain a threat to all lineups, as seen by their last three series wins over the Giants, Astros, and Rays. This pitching staff has a 1.82 ERA, .178 OBA, and .778 win percentage in July. Their ace and All-Star, Luis Castillo will be on the mound for this matchup, who boasts a 2.85 ERA and a 1.04 WHIP.
These two teams squared off in May and Seattle won the series 2-1 on the road. I expect the Mariners to keep their pre-All-Star break momentum going here while Detroit works through the growing pains.
Tigers vs. Mariners Odds
The Mariners (-180) enter as home favorites in this matchup against the Tigers (+155). If you are interested in betting the run line, you can get the Mariners -1.5 at +120 or the Rays +1.5 at -140. The over/under is 7 runs.
With Castillo on the mound and a .266 July team batting average, I definitely see some value in the Mariners run line at +120
Tigers vs. Mariners Key Matchups
Let’s take a look at the key matchups that could decide Tigers vs. Mariners
Eduardo Rodriguez vs. Righty bats
Rodriguez sat on the IL for the entire month of June but made his reappearance last week versus the Oakland A’s, and the results weren’t great. He gave up five runs on six hits in four innings and the Tigers went on to lose 12-3. Prior to that, he’d actually been one of Detroit’s most consistent threats on the mound with a 2.64 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP.
As a left-handed pitcher, his game is threatened by right-handed bats, and the stats show as much. His opponent slash line against lefty bats this year is a cool .125/.183/.250. In fact, his .125 average is the lowest of any starting pitcher against left-handed hitters. Across the box though, his opponent slash line shoots up to .239/.277/.366.
Seattle is a primarily right-handed lineup and I expect them to utilize more right-handers like AJ Pollock and Dylan Moore tonight. A few can hit for power, and have, against Rodriguez before. All in, the Mariners have a .304/.340/.620 slash line against Rodriguez over his career – some highlights there include Teoscar Hernandez’ .421/.400/1.000 career slash line and three career home runs on 19 at bats versus Rodriguez.
As good as that number sounds, Seattle has a .245 average against left-handed pitchers overall this year, which is 21st in the league. Account for the fact that they’re at home versus a lefty and their average drops to .231, 25th in the league so there’s strengths and weaknesses on both sides here.
Luis Castillo vs. Riley Greene
As the bright spot in this lineup, Greene will be Castillo’s biggest matchup in this game. After being on the IL in June, he came back in a big way in their last game with a solo homerun and an RBI. He’s batting .305 on the year and .311 against right-handed pitchers. He also typically hits in the #2 spot against right-handed pitchers, a spot which Castillo’s opponents have historically done well in – #2 hitters have a .319/.377/.532 slash line versus Castillo.
None of that means Greene will get up there and shell Castillo whose whiff rate is in the 88th percentile and his K-rate is in the 73rd percentile, while Greene’s whiff rate is in the 39th percentile and his K-rate is in the 15th. Overall, Castillo would normally have the edge on this lineup as they’ve struggled at the plate this year, but Greene’s consistency may make this a good game.
Tigers vs. Mariners Starting Lineups
Let’s take a look at the starting lineups for Tigers vs. Mariners:
Tigers Starting Lineup
3B Zach McKinstry L
DH Riley Greene L
1B Spencer Torkelson R
RF Kerry Carpenter L
LF Matt Vierling R
SS Javier Baez R
C Eric Haase R
2B Zack Short R
CF Jake Marisnick R
Mariners Starting Lineup
SS J.P. Crawford L
CF Julio Rodriguez R
1B Ty France R
RF Teoscar Hernandez R
3B Eugenio Suarez R
C Tom Murphy R
DH AJ Pollock R
2B Jose Caballero R
LF Dylan Moore R