Detroit Tigers at Cincinnati Reds (-140, 9)
Interleague play continues on Sunday Night Baseball as the Cincinnati Reds host the Detroit Tigers in the rubber game of their three-game series. Cincy took the opener 6-5 in 10 innings, but Detroit bounced back with a 3-2 win Saturday behind Prince Fielder.
Tale of two seasons
Drew Smyly has been up and down this season. He was fantastic during his first five starts, giving up just six runs. He defeated the Yankees at New York back on April 28th in his fourth career start and things were going great. It began to turn on Smyly on May 14th with a game at the White Sox. He gave up four runs in just five innings and has since allowed four runs in each of his past five starts, including last Tuesday when he lost 4-2 versus Cleveland as a -155 home favorite.
The 26-year old Homer Bailey also has been a roller-coaster pitcher this season. He was awful in his last outing on Tuesday, allowing six runs and eight hits in just three innings of work versus a weak Pittsburgh offense. Bailey lost that game 8-4 as a -150 home favorite. Bailey's previous four starts had been spectacular as the right-hander allowed just seven runs total in 28 innings of work fpr an excellent 2.25 ERA. The problem with Bailey has been inconsistency over his career. The once highly-touted prospect is just 29-27 with a 4.83 career ERA and has yet to live up to his potential.
The Tigers were the overwhelming pick (-1250) to win the AL Central before the year began as their off-season acquisitions seemed to fit a team that was already in good shape. Surprisingly, they are just 27-32, with many reasons for their weak start. The bullpen has been inconsistent, with Jose Valverde blowing several save attempts. The team is also dealing with injuries to Austin Jackson, Alex Avila, Andy Dirks, Doug Fister and Victor Martinez. Finally, the hitting just hasn't been what they expected as a number of regulars are off to slow starts. They jettisoned Brandon Inge, who seems to have found his power in Oakland.
Hitter to watch
Prince Fielder is 6-for-17 (.353) versus Homer Bailey. The slugger enters Sunday Night Baseball batting .316 with 10 homers and 39 RBIs after going deep in Saturday's 3-2 win and driving in the go-ahead run with an eighth-inning, two-out single.
Trends to watch
Tigers are 1-5 in Smyly's last six starts.
Tigers are 48-21 in their last 69 Sunday games.
Reds are 16-5 in Bailey's last 21 home starts vs. losing teams.
Reds are 27-6 in Bailey's last 33 starts vs. losing teams.