The Detroit Tigers are scrambling to salvage a semblance of respectability from a season that seems to be heading toward 90+ losses. While fans are disappointed that the Tigers are mired in a rebuilding phase without an end in sight, they also have to scratch their heads at how poorly the Detroit team is performing in a key sports betting metric.
Thus far in 2022, the Tigers are the second worst MLB team when it comes to cashing tickets on the Over. That’s total runs scored in the game. Through Thursday’s games, Detroit has an Over Percentage of 30.7% (16-33-2), which ranks second only to the Astros.
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But the Astros are 6 1/2 games in front in the AL West, and its 25.5% Over Percentage is a reflection of a great pitching staff — not a dismal offense. The Astros win games 4-1 and 3-0, thank you very much. The Tigers are a much different story.
The Tigers are averaging a full run UNDER the total for the season, a figure that is historically bad. Detroit’s Over Percentage means that in seven out of 10 games the Tigers have played, the result is a score below the totals listed by Michigan sports betting apps.
Recently, the team has been woeful at getting runs on the scoreboard. In May, when the Tigers played 29 games, the OVER came in nine times. That includes a 13-game stretch during which they went 11-1-1 to the under.
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Will Trend Continue During Tigers-Yankees Weekend Series?
The Tigers are in New York this weekend to take on the Yankees. The first game of the three-game series will be played Friday at 6:05 p.m. ET. Here are a few notes about the teams.
- For Friday’s game at Yankee Stadium, the total is 7.5, per BetMGM Sportsbook Michigan.
- The Yanks are second in runs scored, baserunners, and walks. The team is first in MLB in home runs, though with an over percentage of 43.1, they rank in the bottom six in MLB.
- Detroit’s best pitcher, emerging Cy Young Award candidate Tarik Skubal, will not make a start over the weekend.
- Friday’s game between the Tigers and Yankees will be broadcast FREE on Apple TV+
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Why The Tigers Are Going Under So Often?
How have we gotten here — to where it seems like the Tigers need to ask for directions to get from first base to third base? Well, the perfect storm has brewed, and for three reasons Detroit games go under more than 70% of the time.
First, Detroit’s offense has been dreadful. The Tigers rank last in baseball in hard-hit balls. The offense has a .285 on-base percentage, which would be the lowest figure in franchise history. The team is on pace to hit fewer than 100 home runs and to have the lowest number of extra-base hits since 1918.
Remember 1918? No, of course not, because hardly anyone does. That’s how long ago it was.
Second, the Tigers are failing to capitalize on the few scoring changes they get. The team’s Run Scoring Percentage (which tracks how often a runner scores after they get on base) is 24%, which is last in Major League Baseball.
Lastly, the pitching staff is having a good season. Through Thursday, June 2, the team ERA of 3.55 ranks fifth in the AL. Pitching coach Chris Fetter’s philosophy has been to focus on throwing strikes early and emphasizing his pitcher’s best stuff, rather than complicating things. As a result, Detroit pitchers have lowered their walk rate, and, even with the strikeout rates down for the Tigers mound staff, they have been effective at coaxing weak contact. The staff has pitched six shutouts and has five games in which it has allowed just one run. Those 11 games represent more than 20% of the season.
The home field has been an assist as well. The Tigers have a 3.34 ERA at Comerica Park, where the outfield is expansive, the walls in the power alleys are as deep as anywhere, and the infield grass is deep enough to hide a case of Vernors.
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Will The Offense Perk Up?
The short answer is probably not. There’s little help on the horizon. Things are so bad, that this week the team promoted Roger Clemens’ son — a 26-year-old “prospect” who doesn’t have his father’s predilection for illicit performance-enhancing drugs, which is bad news for anyone who wants Kody Clemens to help the Tigers score more runs.
The table legs of the Detroit offense (Javier Báez, Miguel Cabrera, Jeimer Candelario, and Jonathan Schoop) are not consistent enough to prop up a run-scoring attack. Báez chases more than a rabid dog at a cat convention. Cabrera can hit line drives still, but now they’re all pretty much singles. And Schoop and Candelario are inconsistent set pieces who can’t be counted on to deliver on a regular basis. Báez, Candelario, and Schoop are all batting under .200 with slugging percentages under .340.
Outfield prospect Riley Greene may return in June, but no single bat will help this sad group of flail-and-failers. There should be a lot of binary baseball the rest of the way in Motown: that’s Detroit scoring 1 or 0.
AP Photo/Carlos Osorio