Detroit isn't a small city, but Motown’s baseball team has somehow avoided big-time hoopla despite an offensive run as potent as any seen in MLB for years.
The Detroit Tigers are averaging 7.9 runs per game in the month of June, on the strength of the team’s .333 batting average, .394 on-base percentage and .521 slugging percentage. Those numbers would cause hysterics in New York if the Bronx Bombers were behind them, but the Tigers’ scoring spree has remained relatively quiet.
If MLB bettors listen closely, however, they can hear the sound of wallets fattening via Detroit’s lineup.
Detroit has a 12-4-2 over/under record in June, and a 24-6-1 O/U mark dating back to May 18. Oddsmakers have gradually boosted the team’s totals over the last month but Tigers keep crossing the plate enough to make up for the bump.
Covers Expert David Malinsky says that banking on the ‘over’, even with a good pitching team like the Tigers, becomes intuitive when an offense is as hot as Detroit’s.
“Eight times this month (the Tigers) have either gone over the total by themselves, or come within a half run of it,” he says. “Which means that out of those eight games, the only chance for an ‘under’ was for their own pitching staff to throw a shutout.”
Malinsky acknowledges that Detroit can’t maintain its eight-runs-a-game pace all season, but also notes that it has the personnel to hold onto its No. 1 ranking among MLB offenses through the summer.
“The Tigers have tremendous balance and depth all the way up and down the lineup,” the MLB handicapper says. “Left-right, contact-power, etc. It’s almost a dream lineup to manage.”
Magglio Ordonez has been the top offensive player in the majors this year and he’s been even hotter in June, hitting .500 (yep, you read that correctly) to lead Detroit in its run for the AL Central title.
But check out the other Tigers regulars in June: Brandon Inge is hitting .373, Placido Polanco .370, Gary Sheffield .369, Omar Infante .343, Curtis Granderson .342, Carlos Guillen .326, Ivan Rodriguez .322 and Sean Casey .321.
Craig Monroe, in fact, is the only Detroit player with at least 35 at bats in the month of June hitting below .321.
The Tigers just swept the Washington Nationals, scoring 32 runs over the three games and winning admiration along the way.
"Best team we've seen all year," catcher Brian Schneider raved to the Washington Post after Wednesday’s game, an 8-4 Detroit win as a -196 favorite.
The eight runs was the Tigers’ lowest output of the series and all three games in Washington easily played over the books’ total of 9 ½ runs.
Detroit’s traveling road show makes its next stop in the Deep South as the Tigers start a three-game set with the Atlanta Braves on Friday night. The teams haven’t played each other since 2004.
The total for Friday’s game, in which Kenny Rogers is slated to make his 2007 debut for the Tigers, opened at nine runs. First pitch will be thrown at .