Guardians Eyeing First Place
While the Cleveland Guardians and Detroit Tigers are technically division rivals, there is a huge gap between the American League Central teams — both in the standings and on the stat sheet. While the Guardians enter the week one game out of first place behind the Minnesota Twins, the Tigers are well off the pace. Detroit is 15 games out of first and firmly entrenched in last place in the division.
The current odds at BetUS have the Guardians listed as road favorites.
Bieber Struggling on Mound
The Cleveland Guardians should have the advantage in terms of starting pitching in this series debut with Shane Bieber facing off against Tyler Alexander. The problem is that Bieber has been underperforming for most of the season and is mired in an extended slump.
After a strong June where Bieber finished with a 3.13 ERA in 37.1 innings, things began to fall apart. In July, his ERA rose to 4.23 in four outings after failing to produce back-to-back quality starts. Bieber had two games last month where he allowed a single run, but his other two games saw a total of 11 runs cross the plate. In his last seven games combined, Bieber has a 4.05 ERA after coughing up 38 hits and 21 runs in 46.2 innings. He’s still striking out batters at a rate of about one per inning.
Despite his recent struggles, Bieber does have solid career numbers against the Detroit Tigers. In 161 career at-bats, the current Tigers lineup is hitting a meager .207 against Bieber with eight extra-base hits and 53 strikeouts. Bieber did get lit up by the Tigers for five runs in 5.2 innings back in early July. But, before that, he held Detroit to three runs combined in two other starts this season.
Tigers Looking to Rebound
With a record of 43-67, the Detroit Tigers inevitably racked up a few embarrassing moments during the season. But, Sunday’s loss at home against the Rays might take the cake. The game entered the ninth inning deadlocked at 0-0 when Isaac Parades hit a one-out single off of Tigers closer Gregor Soto. The Rays went on to score seven runs in the ninth inning after a slew of pitching missteps for Detroit. In the end, the Tigers allowed two bases-loaded walks and five hits during the final frame.
The Tigers are not a good home team with a 26-30 record at Comerica Park, but they have had success against Cleveland there. The last time these two teams clashed in Detroit, the Tigers walked away with a four-game sweep after outscoring the Guardians 28-10.
While that is all well and good, there are concerns about Alexander making his 17th appearance and sixth start of the year. He is far more effective as a relief pitcher with a .237 batting average out of the bullpen compared to .279 when starting. Alexander is also not fully stretched out yet and hasn’t pitched more than five innings this season. The Tigers’ bullpen is one of the best in the league, but after Sunday’s disaster, who knows where their heads are at?
Guardians vs Tigers Head-to-Head
Game 1 of this series marks the 13th game between these AL Central rivals this season. Despite a massive difference in overall records, the Guardians hold a slim 7-5 lead. The home team has won the last eight games in a row dating back to May 29. Cleveland is coming off a three-game home sweep of Detroit in the previous series in mid-July. The Guardians outscored Detroit 20-5 in that series with two shutouts in three games.
Guardians vs Tigers Game Information
- Game: Guardians (56-52) vs Tigers (43-67)
- Location: Comerica Park, Detroit, MI
- Day/Time: Tuesday, Aug. 9, 7:10 p.m. ET
- Tigers vs Guardians Live Stream: MLB.tv
Guardians vs Tigers Betting Lines
S. Bieber -R
|-1½ -110||-185||7½ +105o||4½ -105o / 4½ -125u|
T. Alexander -L
|+1½ -110||+165||7½ -125u||2½ -135o / 2½ +105u|
Guardians vs Tigers Prediction
While the trends for this series suggest the home team is the better bet, one can’t help but be very suspicious of the Tigers. They may have had good luck with the Guardians at home, but that doesn’t change the fact that they are the worst team in the division. Bieber is indeed struggling, but the Tigers are one of the worst scoring offenses in the league at Comerica, providing a great opportunity for Bieber to get back on track.