Texas Rangers v Detroit Tigers
The Detroit Tigers will look to historic precedent when they try to topple the Rangers in Texas Saturday. Detroit’s Justin Verlander is always an ace, but throughout his career he’s elevated his game against the Rangers. Lifetime, he’s 7-2 with a 2.10 ERA versus Texas and he’s never lost a game on the road in Arlington. He’s also coming off an otherworldly performance. Last Monday, he struck out 14 batters in eight innings against the vaunted New York Yankees. His pitching opponent, Derek Holland is in the midst of a tailspin. In his last four starts he’s 1-3 with a dismal 7.00 ERA. He’s particularly struggled at home where he’s 3-4 with a 6.19 ERA in 2012 (overall, he’s 7-6 with a 5.18 ERA). Put your faith in Verlander and the Tigers at 1.67 instead of Holland and the Rangers (2.20).
Pittsburgh Pirates v San Diego Padres
Home field advantage has been huge for Pittsburgh Pirates starter A.J. Burnett. As a result, expect his club to win at home against the San Diego Padres. In what has been a phenomenal comeback season for Burnett, the right-hander has benefitted greatly from pitching in the friendly confines of PNC Park. He is a spotless 7-0 with a 2.00 ERA there. Moreover, there are no signs that he’s slowing down in the second half. He was recently named National League Players of the Week thanks to a 2-0 performance against the Chicago Cubs and the Cincinnati Reds. In those two games he registered a 1.02 ERA in 17 2/3 innings. The Padres have had a wonderful bullpen work this season, but it’s very unlikely San Diego starter Jason Marquis will have a lead to hand over to them to protect. He’s 7-10 with a 5.47 ERA. Choose the Pirates at home at 1.57 as the Padres at 2.40 will struggle against the resurgent Burnett.