The 2017 MLB All-Star Game takes place next Tuesday, July 11. Monday is a day off for all teams in Major League Baseball.
No worries. I’m always thinking about Thursday through Sunday games to do my real handicapping.
2017 MLB week 12 weekend preview and picks
This Thursday, an incredibly interesting matchup takes place when the hot San Francisco Giants travel to Comerica Park to battle the Detroit Tigers. Then, on Friday, the Baltimore Orioles battle the Twins.
Saturday is a classic matchup between the Detroit Tigers and Cleveland Indians. Detroit sends Justin Verlander to the mound. Will he have more success this Saturday versus the Tribe than he did in his last start against them? This Sunday’s matchup might be the most intriguing that I handicap. David Price travels to Tampa Bay to battle Chris Archer and the TB Rays. Price started his career throwing for Tampa Bay.
Check out a preview of our 2017 MLB week 12 weekend picks!
Thursday, July 6
San Francisco Giants at Detroit Tigers
San Francisco ace Johnny Cueto is listed as starting for the Giants in this game against Detroit on Thursday. Cueto has a 4.26 ERA and a 1.33 WHIP this season. He’s faced Detroit batters before. In fact, Cueto’s faced Detroit batters 122 times. He’s only allowed 25 hits. The Tigers bat .205 versus the Giants’ ace.
Detroit listed starter Anibal Sanchez has a 6.34 ERA and a 1.51 WHIP. Sanchez has pitched much better in his last 2 starts. In his last, he held the Cleveland Indians to only 3 earned runs in 6.1 innings. The Tigers beat the Tribe 6 to 4.
Sanchez has turned his form around. I wasn’t just impressed with his performance against Cleveland in his last. He also pitched beautifully against the San Diego Padres on July 24. In that game, Sanchez held the Padres to 1 earned run off 2 hits in 6 innings.
Johnny Cueto pitched okay in his last start, a 13 to 5 San Francisco win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. Cueto has been up and down this season. What’s interesting about his last start is he only lasted 5 innings, yet the Giants beat Pitt by 8 runs.
What does it mean? It means that 2 things appear to have changed with San Francisco. First, the Giants’ bats have come to life. Scoring 13 runs versus the Pirates isn’t easy. Second, the Giants bullpen has stepped it up. In a game versus the Pirates on June 30, SF’s bullpen held the Bucs to 0 runs in a 2 to 1 SF win.
The resurgent offense and suddenly capable bullpen have led to 6 straight Giants wins as of July 2. That’s pretty good considering where the G-Men were only two weeks ago.
I think the Giants are on a roll. I like them to win by at least 2 runs on Thursday.
Pick: San Francisco Giants run line
Friday, July 7
Baltimore Orioles at Minnesota Twins
Orioles listed starter Kevin Gausman is 5-7 on the season. He has a 5.61 ERA. His WHIP is a horrendous 1.74. Versus the Twins, he’s done okay. Gausman has faced Twin batters 59 times. He’s only allowed 14 hits. Minnesota bats .237 versus Gausman. That’s not bad.
The Twins counter Gausman with pitcher Hector Santiago. The 29-year-old Santiago has a 4-8 straight up record this season. His WHIP is 1.44. His ERA is 5.63. The worst stat on Santiago’s line might be strikeouts. He’s struck out 51 batters in over 70 innings pitched this season. That’s not a good strikeout rate.
Santiago has faced Baltimore batters 82 times. He’s allowed 21 hits. The O’s bat .256 versus Hector Santiago.
Hector Santiago’s ERA has been above 5.00 in his last 3 starts. He only lasted 2.2 innings versus the Seattle Mariners on June 6. His ERA came out to 5.26. Against Boston on June 27, he was worse. Santiago lasted 2 innings against the Red Sox. His ERA ended up at 5.37. Then, in Santiago’s last start, he lasted 3.1 innings. Santiago allowed 4 earned runs off 4 hits in a 2 to 6 Twins’ loss to the KC Royals. His ERA in that game was 5.63.
I know what you’re thinking. Hasn’t Gausman been as bad as Hector Santiago? Not lately. Kevin Gausman hasn’t allowed an earned run in his last 12.1 innings pitched. Not only that, but he’s struck out 13 batters, has yielded a total of 6 hits, and has walked only 4, in the past 12.1 innings.
I think there’s a chance Gausman pitches another gem. I like the Orioles to beat the Twins by at least 2 runs on July 7.
Pick: Baltimore Orioles run line
Saturday, July 8
Detroit Tigers at Cleveland Indians
Justin Verlander is scheduled to start for the Detroit Tigers on July 8. Verlander has been having a very un-Verlander like season. His ERA is 4.96. His WHIP is 1.52. He’s only struck out 92 batters in 98 innings pitched. That’s not what Justin Verlander usually does.
Cleveland counters Detroit’s struggling ace with Mike Cleavinger. Cleavinger has a 4-3 record. His WHIP is 1.19. His ERA is 3.33. Those aren’t bad stats for the 26-year-old former Citadel pitcher.
Cleavinger has only faced Detroit batters 32 times. The Tigers have 9 hits from those 32 at-bats. Detroit averages .281 versus Cleavinger.
But, Cleavinger should handle the Tigers on Saturday. His overall stats imply that he’ll make the necessary adjustments to be much better versus the Tigers on July 8 than he has been in the past.
The real key to this game is if Detroit’s ace, Justin Verlander, bounces back. Verlander just pitched against the Tribe this past weekend. He didn’t strike out a single Cleveland batter. Verlander had struck out at least 1 batter in his last 331 games pitched before failing to do so versus Cleveland.
Does Verlander bounce back with a solid performance this Saturday? My brain tells me no. He hasn’t been good all-season long. But, my gut tells me that a pitcher like Justin Verlander, one who should end up with a bust in Cooperstown, doesn’t let something like a crazy streak getting broken ruin him.
In fact, I think Cleveland breaking the streak might be the best thing to have happened to Verlander. Sometimes great athletes, this is especially true for great pitchers, need a kick in the pants to get fired up.
I think Verlander comes out throwing heat. I’m going with Detroit to knock off Cleveland on July 8.
Pick: Detroit Tigers moneyline
Sunday, July 9
Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays
David Price started his career throwing for current Cubs’ manager Joe Maddon in Tampa. Price is now one of the top pitchers for the Boston Red Sox. Some consider Price the Red Sox ace although it’s difficult to look past the brilliant Chris Sale this season.
So far, Price’s 2017 hasn’t been that great. DP has a 4.61 ERA and a 1.27 WHIP. His record is a winning one at 3-2.
Tampa Bay’s new ace, Chris Archer, takes the mound for the Rays on Sunday. Archer’s 3.92 ERA and 1.21 WHIP are both good. He has struck out 131 batters in only 110.1 innings pitched, and Archer holds the Red Sox to a .255 batting average.
Archer has had success against Boston. He should pitch a decent game. But, the key for this one is how the bullpen’s do.
Boston has one of the best bullpens in MLB. Red Sox relievers have a 2.89 ERA. They are 14-7 on the season. Opponents average .224 versus Boston’s bullpen. In a contrast, Tampa’s bullpen isn’t very good. The Rays allow a .243 batting average. Tampa Bay has a 4.32 ERA. The Rays bullpen is 15-19 on the season.
I think Boston has the edge. Eventually, Archer must leave the game on Sunday. Once he does, the Red Sox should take over. I like Boston on the moneyline.
Pick: Boston Red Sox moneyline