The Seattle Mariners are the MLB betting favorites to defeat the Detroit Tigers tonight at 10:10 pm, and the reasons for this are twofold. One, the game will take place at Safeco Field. Two, Hisashi Iwakuma will start for the Mariners, but more on that later. Meanwhile, here are the odds for people who bet on baseball:
Tigers +1½ (-205) 7½ (-115) +109
Mariners -1½ (+173) 7½ (-105) -119
Seattle has just completed a sweep of the Angels of Anaheim in their three-game series which concluded yesterday. Mariners starter James Paxton kept the Halos to only five hits in 8 1/3 innings and six strikeouts – four of which came at the expense of Angels’ Mike Trout. Seth Smith, Kyle Seager, and Nelson Cruz hit back-to-back (to-back) singles in the fourth. The latter’s line drive allowed Smith to score. Adam Lind reloaded the bases after being hit by a pitch. Leonys Martin ended up with a sacrifice fly. The recently recalled Mike Freeman drove in the third run. The final score was 3-1.
Coincidentally, that was also the score when the Tigers lost to the Mets yesterday. Detroit closer Francisco ‘Pancho’ Rodriguez gave up a home run in the ninth inning that broke the tie and gave the Mets the win. Prior to that – as in immediately before – Rodriguez hit Alejandro De Aza in the right hand with a fastball. Neil Walker was at bat next, and hit his 19th homer of the season. “I’ve faced him a lot,” Walker said of Rodriguez. “He’s a guy that you really want to see up a lot, especially with his offspeed pitches. Right there, I was able to get a fastball that was up in the zone, and react to it. You certainly don’t figure you’re going to do damage like that against him.”
So the Mariners are fresh off three straight wins, while the Tigers lost the last game of their own three-game set. However, that is not the reason that the former are the MLB betting favorites tonight, or at least not the only reason. Hisashi Iwakuma (12-7, 3.99 ERA) will make his 23rd start of the season, and he is on a roll, having won seven consecutive games at Safeco Field, where he has not lost since April 27th. The 35 year old Japanese righty has a 2.40 ERA in his last five starts, and went 7 1-3 scoreless innings in his last start versus the Boston Red Sox.
That being said, streaks are meant to be broken, just ask the Undertaker. Iwakuma surrendered five earned runs and 11 hits (two season highs) versus the Tigers on June 22nd – but that was at Comerica Park. Michael Fulmer (9-2, 2.42 ERA), who will start tonight for Detroit, did so on that day as well. The right-hander pitched 4 1/3 innings on that occasion and gave up one earned run. Also, the fans that bet on baseball should note that the Tigers have already used the Mariners as a stepping stone this season. Detroit swept Seattle 4-0 the first time they faced off this year. Before that, the Tigers were one game under .500; currently they are more than 10 games above .500 for the first time since the end of the 2014 campaign.