Detroit has been one of the most disappointing teams in baseball so far in 2012. Expectations were extremely high for the Tigers, and the team is just 26-31 on the season. Jim Leyland is feeling some heat from the passionate fan base. The Reds started the season a little bit slowly, but they are on top of the NL Central at 31-25. This should be an interesting Interleague matchup this weekend.
After signing Prince Fielder it looked like the Tigers would have one of the best lineups in all of baseball. Fielder is hitting .318, so it isn’t his fault, but the offense hasn’t lived up to expectations thus far. Miguel Cabrera leads the team with a .321 batting average and 49 RBI’s this year. Outside of Cabrera and Fielder, the team really hasn’t had anyone else consistently produce. Austin Jackson, Alex Avila, and Andy Dirks are all on the disabled list right now. Brennan Boesch was expected to be a big hitter for this team, but he has slumped all season.
The Tigers have the best pitcher in baseball in Justin Verlander at the top of the rotation, but they don’t have much else going for them right now. Detroit ranks 25th in the majors in team ERA at 4.28. The defense hasn’t helped out any. The Tigers have committed 39 errors already this year.
Mat Latos was Cincinnati’s major offseason acquisition. The team needed a starting pitcher, so they went out and got Latos. They gave up some major talent for him, and so far the team has to be disappointed with the results. Latos has a 4.91 ERA, and he hasn’t been able to go deep at all in games because of his high pitch counts. Latos has already allowed 12 home runs this season. The Reds bullpen is one of the best in baseball with great middle relief guys as well as a hammer at the back of the bullpen in the form of Aroldis Chapman.
Cincinnati’s offense was terrible at the beginning of the year, but they have been much better of late. Joey Votto is a hitting machine. Votto is batting .354 with 9 homers and 35 RBI’s. Brandon Phillips is batting well over .300 in the past month, and his resurgence at the plate can be tied closely to the team’s surge to the top of the division. Ryan Ludwick hit two home runs last night, and he is a guy that the Reds would like to see heat up out in left field.
MLB Free Pick: Over 9
Great American Ballpark is tough on pitchers as the weather heats up, and both of these pitchers give up the home run ball. Look for a high scoring game here.