Tigers-Cardinals Interleague Series Could Be World Series Preview
Some believe that interleague play has run its course in Major League Baseball and that is true when you get those boring series like Minnesota Twins-Colorado Rockies or something. But then comes along a series that is worth watching and takes more betting action than normal. That’s the case this weekend when the Detroit Tigers visit the St. Louis Cardinals starting Friday for three games.
Need To Know
The Tigers and Cardinals have met in the World Series three times, last in 2006 when the Cards won in five games. The 1968 Fall Classic between the two, won by Detroit in seven, was one of the best World Series ever. What are the odds these two play in October? Sportsbook.com lists it at +2100, behind only Dodgers-Tigers (+1600), Dodgers-Royals (+1600), Nationals-Tigers (+1700) and Nationals-Royals (+1800).
The Tigers (21-14) are just behind the Royals in the AL Central, while the Cardinals (24-10) have a comfortable lead in the NL Central. Because this is an interleague series in an NL park, there is no designated hitter so Detroit will lose Victor Martinez. Add in Martinez not being in the lineup for Thursday’s series finale against the Twins, and it’s essentially a four-day break on the heels of an 0-for-8 stretch this week, though he will be available to pinch-hit.
Martinez said again on Wednesday that his left knee, on which he underwent surgery in February for a meniscus tear, is gradually improving. However, he has struggled with it. His 0-for-4 performance Wednesday included his first three-strikeout game in two years, dropping his average to .150 (12-for-80) against right-handed pitchers. He still has plate discipline with 11 walks and 12 strikeouts, but his left knee remains a hindrance when he bats left-handed. Martinez is batting .462 (12-for-26) against left-handers.
Cards shortstop Jhonny Peralta will face the Tigers for the first time since leaving for St. Louis as a free agent after the 2013 season. Peralta spent four seasons in Detroit, batting .275 with 53 home runs and 242 RBIs in 460 games. The Cardinals will be without Jon Jay, having placed the outfielder on the 15-day disabled list Thursday with tendinitis in his left wrist and a bone bruise on his left thumb.
Friday — Tigers RHP Shane Greene at Cardinals RHP Carlos Martinez: After three miserable starts, Greene got back to his groundout ways Sunday and quieted the Royals, who hit 10 consecutive groundouts in a stretch of 15 outs. Greene got a no-decision for eight innings of one-run ball. Martinez has allowed seven runs in each of his last two starts. He has drawn some criticism from his manager for not controlling his emotions well enough and trying to overthrow when he gets into tight spots.
Saturday — Tigers LHP David Price at Cardinals LHP Tyler Lyons: Price will get a couple extra days to treat his right hamstring after suffering a mild strain in his last start against the Royals last Friday, when he slipped on a bat behind home plate. He has never faced the Cardinals. Lyons was much-improved in his second start for the Cards, and that had much to do with his fastball command. Lyons won his first two starts for the club in 2013, but has been winless in 12 starts since.
Tigers RHP Alfredo Simon at Cardinals RHP Lance Lynn: After beating the Cardinals twice in three starts during the NL Central race for the Reds last year, Simon returns to St. Louis in a Tigers uniform, hoping to build on 7 2/3 innings of one-run ball Tuesday against the Twins. Lynn pitched six shutout innings Tuesday, allowing four hits while walking four and fanning nine in Cleveland. The big righty labored, needing 118 pitches (67 strikes) to get through six frames. He is 2-3 with a 3.27 ERA.
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