The Baltimore Orioles captured just its ninth road victory of the season on Sunday afternoon, as the team stands at 1-8 as a road underdog of +150 to +175 this season (-640). Surprisingly enough, the Orioles have managed to play just five Monday games, but have lost all five of them (-530). These two teams will meet for the first time this season, with the Orioles dropping five of eight games last year, including three of four in Detroit. INF Ty Wigginton has been one of few bright spots on the year, being named to represent the Orioles in the All-Star game. He leads the club with 14 home runs and has seen action at first base, second based and third base this year. He’s currently suffering through a 1-for-31 slump at the plate. Baltimore must be respected in this matchup due to its 4-1 record in their last five games after scoring five or more runs in their previous game.
Orioles starting pitcher Kevin Millwood will be making his 401st major league appearance this afternoon. The right-hander stands at 2-8 with a 5.40 ERA in 17 starts this season (-60), but has led the team to three straight victories with him on the hill. In 13 career starts against the Tigers, Millwood stands at 4-5 with a 3.65 ERA (-230), including a 2-2 mark and 2.83 ERA in the Motor City. He must get out of the first inning unblemished to be successful, as he’s allowed at least two runs in the first frame in seven of his last eight starts (20 total runs). He has received just 69 runs of support in 17 starts this season (4.0 runs per game).
Detroit has won nine of its last 13 games against the Orioles at Comerica Park, as the club looks to bounce back from an 8-1 home loss to the Seattle Mariners. This series continues a nine-game homestand for the Tigers, as it will conclude with this three-game series, followed by a three-game set against the Minnesota Twins heading into the All-Star break. Manager Jim Leyland’s club has won five straight series at Comerica Park and bring in the AL’s best home winning percentage at .692 this season (27-12, +1,290). Detroit will be represented by two players in Anaheim next week in the All-Star game, with 1B Miguel Cabrera and closer Jose Valverde being named to the team on Sunday. Cabrera is currently riding a season-best 13-game hitting streak and Valverde has converted his last 18 saves.
Tigers starting pitcher Andy Oliver will be making his third career start, going 0-2 with a 3.00 ERA (-200). He made 14 previous minor league starts in Erie, posing a 6-4 mark and 3.61 ERA, while striking out 70 batters and issuing 25 walks in 77.1 innings. Oliver became the first pitcher to make his major league debut as a starting pitcher since June 20, 2009. He is the fourth player from the team’s 2009 draft to reach the major leagues, as he was a second-round selection. The left-hander is making his first career start against today’s opponent and at Comerica Park.
It’s hard to imagine that bettors are going to be going all in on the Tigers being such a large favorite with an unknown rookie on the hill. Detroit stands at 7-3 this season as a home favorite of -175 to -200 (+160), but has failed to profit in this situation the last three years (19-12, -310). Playing the Orioles against a left-hander on the road is a risk due to the club’s 16-37 record in this particular spot in their last 53 games.
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