After a couple wins in ways we hadn’t anticipated, the Tiger bats came out and did everything we expected they would do to Tyler Duffey, Matt Boyd pitched well enough to win and we moved to 6-1-1 in August in relatively foreseeable fashion. Tonight’s play will look awfully similar to yesterday’s, with the Tigers again looking like a bargain as they go for the sweep at Target Field.
Detroit is even a little more affordable as a side tonight, currently going for -103 at BetOnline.com. A lot of that is undoubtedly because of Daniel Norris‘ struggles keeping guys off base. The first time I heard of Norris was in the article about his rundown van and grizzly beard. Then he became the center piece in a move that sent David Price to Toronto last season. Now he’s finally pitching and has had a mixed bag of results. Norris’ WHIP is a healthy 1.73. He’s given up 38 hits in 28.1 innings, which is an awful lot. The thing is that his ERA is a respectable 3.81 because he’s been very good at pitching out of tough situations. There are two schools of thought here and I think you have to look at each guy individually. In some cases, a pitcher can be lucky to strand a high rate of baserunners over a small sample (Norris’ six starts would qualify). But some guys have a very real ability to bear down and persist in the fire, which I think is the case with Norris. He hasn’t allowed more than three runs in any of his six starts this season, despite giving up more than a hit per inning in each. And after going 100 pitches five starts back against Seattle, Norris hasn’t thrown more than 88 since. The Tigers seem to understand that it won’t help to stretch Norris out. If the club and the pitcher are on the same page, it will help the youngster continue to do what he’s been doing – eat the first five innings and put his team in a position to win.
Norris was the 74th pick in 2011, Jose Berrios was the 32nd pick the year after. The Twins called him up in late April and Berrios has shown very little to warrant such a decision. He made one promising start against Houston and got shelled in the other three (including 0.2 innings, 7 ER’s at Detroit on 5/16) before landing on the Disabled List for two and a half months. Berrios has made another four starts this month and has given up 16 runs in 17 innings, without one outing that stands out against the others. He’s giving up a ton of hits (as many as Norris) and is walking more than a batter every two innings. More importantly, he hasn’t shown the resolve Norris has when it comes to escaping tough situations and maybe getting that swing and miss. The Twins appear to just be letting their prized youngster work through the growing pains and figure it out and they limp to the finish line of a disappointing season. But Berrios has shown nothing in the form of command to suggest he’s ready to pitch well at the big league level, much less be priced as a pick against a very good Detroit team that needs every win it can get with a month left in the season. We’re making the same play that we did yesterday: Detroit for half a unit.
Gut Says: Tigers -103
YTD: 27-22-1 +2.40
2015: 31-25-5 +1.09
2014: 45-28-3 +9.02