MLB Division Rivals Collide
Division rivals fighting for top spot collide today when the Detroit Tigers visit the Minnesota Twins and the Los Angeles Dodgers take on the San Francisco Giants.
The Tigers enter the opener of today's three-game series half a game behind the division-leading Twins in the AL Central. The Twins lead the season series so far after taking four of six from Detroit.
In tonight's series opener Jeremy Bonderman (3-5, 4.20) gets the start for Detroit and Francisco Liriano (6-5, 3.11) goes for Minnesota. Bonderman has only one win in his last six starts and last time out he took the loss against the Mets after surrendering four runs on seven hits in six innings.
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Bonderman has faced the Twins 16 times in his career and has a 3-6 record and 5.32 ERA.
Liriano's lost his last two starts and boasts a lame 2-5 record in his last nine outings. He last faced the Brewers and allowed three runs on seven hits in five innings. He faced the Tigers back on April 27 and was nearly unhittable while tossing eight shutout innings with 10 strikeouts.
He's posted solid numbers against the Tigers in his career with a 4-1 record and 3.94 ERA in 12 appearances.
The Twins are a -160 favorite at Bovada in tonight's game, while the total has been set at 8. The Tigers may not have a great record against the Twins this year, but they're one of the better hitting clubs in the majors against lefthanded pitching this season. I'll take the Tigers to pull off the upset at +140.
The rest of the pitching matchups in the series are Armando Galarraga (3-1, 3.68) vs. Nick Blackburn (6-5, 6.10) on Tuesday and Andy Oliver (0-1, 3.00) vs. Kevin Slowey (7-5, 4.79) on Wednesday.
The Giants and Dodgers are both well within striking distance of the Padres in the NL West; San Francisco is 4.5 games back and Los Angeles sits five games behind. The Giants and Dodgers have only met once so far this season back in April when the Dodgers took two of three at home.
In tonight's game Chad Billingsley (6-4, 4.34) returns from the DL for the Dodgers and Barry Zito (7-4, 3.45) starts for the Giants. Billingsley has been on the DL due to a strained groin and last pitched on June 11. He faced the Angels in that game and was hammered for seven runs on nine hits in 5 2-3 innings. In 15 career appearances against the Giants Billingsley is 4-2 with a 3.68 ERA.
Zito is coming off an awful start against Houston in which he allowed five runs on seven hits in four innings. He now has only has one win in his last seven starts. Zito faced the Dodgers back in April and limited L.A, to one run on four hits in seven strong innings. In 14 career starts against the Dodgers Zito is 6-5 with a 4.20 ERA.
The Giants are -125 home favorites tonight, while the total has been set at 7.5. The Dodgers are nearly as bad at hitting lefthanded pitching this year as the Tigers are good at it. Los Angeles has had no power against southpaws this season with only seven homers versus lefties, worst in the majors. The Giants should win at home tonight.