Cubs v Tigers
There’s a nice mismatch brewing on the north side of Chicago when the Cubs host the Detroit Tigers on Thursday. The Tigers’ Justin Verlander has suffered through some down moments this year, including losing three decisions in a row for the first time since 2008. But interleague heals all wounds. He got a win the last time out against the Cincinnati Reds and, overall, in his career, the lifetime American Leaguer has a 16-2 record with a 2.76 ERA when facing National League clubs. The reason for the success: Verlander’s stuff is so good that unless you have an opportunity to see him somewhat regularly, he’s incredibly tough. As for the Cubs, they’ve only seen him once ever and Verlander carved them up, getting the win while allowing just one run in 5 2/3 innings pitched. Of course, it also helps that this edition of the Cubs are so woeful and their starter Travis Wood is 0-2 with a 4.71 ERA. The combination augurs very well for Detroit who should ease to the victory at 1.47. Despite the good odds for Chicago at 2.70, don’t you bite.
Twins v Phillies
The Minnesota Twins are well-placed for victory when the Philadelphia Phillies come visiting. The underperforming Phillies, who have dealt with so many injuries this year from Ryan Howard to Roy Halladay, roll out Joe Blanton to pitch this one. That’s bad news for Philadelphia fans. Blanton is currently in a huge funk. In his past five starts he has a horrendous 9.91 ERA. That’s 29 earned runs in just 26 1/3 innings. In contrast, the Twins send one of their few shining lights so far in 2012 to pitch: Scott Diamond. Though his velocity is not overpowering, he’s shown a great feel for hitting spots in and around the strike zone. As a result, he’s been an impressive 5-1 with a 1.61 ERA. The Twins, who can be had at 1.75, have started June strong in June, going 7-3 in their first 10 of the month and should be able to ride that momentum to victory. Pass on the Phillies at 2.08.