MLB: Monday Night Baseball Betting Preview
While it may not generate the buzz that every Monday night does in the fall on ESPN, Monday Night Baseball has become a nice tradition, particularly for those investing their time, bankrolls, and efforts into handicapping America's Game. Tonight's matchup puts the New York Yankees in MoTown to face the Detroit Tigers. The visitors are set up as -130 favorites at Sportsbook.com.
On the same night the New York Yankees say hello to an old friend, the Detroit Tigers bid farewell to one of their organization's true legends. Johnny Damon faces the Yankees on Monday night for the first time since being signed by the Tigers, who will honor Ernie Harwell as they return to Comerica Park for the first time since the Hall of Fame broadcaster passed away last week.
Detroit honored Harwell with a ceremony shortly after he announced he was ill, and before the opener of this four-game set with the Yankees (21-9, +8.9), it'll say goodbye. A flag with Harwell's initials will be raised as part of the festivities.
This is the first meeting between the Yankees and Tigers in 2010 - New York won five of six last season - but the clubs certainly aren't lacking for familiarity. Just a month after the Yankees won their 27th World Series title, they acquired All-Star center fielder Curtis Granderson from Detroit in a three-team deal that sent top prospect Austin Jackson to the Tigers.
That move left little room in the outfield for Damon, who hit .285 with 77 homers from 2006-2009 with the Yankees and the two-time All-Star is now splitting time between left field and designated hitter in Detroit.
While Granderson's return to Detroit is on hold due to a groin injury, the Tigers are certainly happy with his successor in center. Jackson has 22 hits in his last 46 at-bats and leads the AL in average (.371), a point ahead of teammate Miguel Cabrera and they are 32-14 at home in the first half of the season over the last two seasons.
New York also signed Marcus Thames in the offseason after the outfielder played in Detroit from 2004-09. He's batting .394 with a homer and four RBIs in 13 games with his new club who is 71-38 against other teams with winning records.
Jackson had two hits and scored twice Sunday, but Max Scherzer - who came over from Arizona in the Granderson trade - was roughed up again in a 7-4 loss at Cleveland.
The Yankees had won six straight heading into Sunday's finale at Boston but suffered a rare lopsided loss. A.J. Burnett allowed nine runs in 4 1/3 innings as New York fell 9-3, leaving them 21-31 (-15.8 Units) against the money line in road games having won three of four since 2008.
Alex Rodriguez doesn't have a hit in three career at-bats against Dontrelle Willis (1-1, 3.99 ERA, 1.502 WHIP), who is showing signs of progress after making just 14 starts the past two seasons. Willis pitched six shutout innings against the Twins to earn his first win April 29 and retired 12 straight Tuesday at Minnesota after allowing six of the first 10 batters to reach. He didn't receive a decision, giving up three runs over 5 1/3 innings in a 4-3 loss.
Willis hasn't faced the Yankees since 2006 with Florida and is 12-25 (-20.5 Units) against the ML vs. teams whose hitters strike out six or less times a contest in his career. (Team's Record)
The left-hander will be opposed by Sergio Mitre (0-0, 2.79, 0.928), who's making a spot start while Andy Pettitte recovers from left elbow inflammation. Mitre was 3-3 with a 7.16 in nine starts last season, and he's expected to be limited to 70 pitches in his first career appearance against Detroit.
Sportsbook.com has New York as -130 ML favorites with total Ov10 and they are 115-52 as a favorite of -110 or higher and 8-0 OVER after three consecutive games versus a division rival this year. The Tigers are 30-15 at Comerica Park when the money line is +125 to -125 and is 24-11 OVER at same location vs. a very good bullpen whose WHIP is 1.250 or better.
This series opener for this four game series is on ESPN at 7:05 Eastern for Monday Night Baseball.
The StatFox Power Line shows New York -134.
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