MLB Regular Season
Matchup: Seattle Mariners at Detroit Tigers
Date/Time: July 22, 7:08 p.m. ET
Pitching Matchup: Mike Montgomery (4-3, 2.51) vs. Anibal Sanchez (9-7, 4.55)
MLB Betting Odds From BetDSI Sportsbook
Moneyline: Detroit -125
If the Detroit Tigers do, in fact, become sellers at the MLB Trade Deadline, Anibal Sanchez will be part of the reason why. The struggling right-hander will be on the mound on Wednesday for the series finale between the Tigers and the Seattle Mariners. Mike Montgomery will take the mound for the Mariners, looking to improve on his 4-3 rookie record. Both of these teams are desperate for wins, though given recent reports, the Tigers may not be as desperate as some people think.
It’s always a tough time of year to be a Major Leaguer, unless you are one of the few with tremendous job security in your current organization of employment. The Tigers have been hovering around .500 for the last little while and that’s not good enough. As a result, rumblings on the hot stove are that the Tigers may be sellers rather than buyers at the MLB Trade Deadline. The Tigers have some very exciting players like David Price and Yoenis Cespedes that will be free agents at the end of the season. With some dire financial straits looming large on future payrolls, the Tigers need to restock their farm system and those two players would go a long way in helping with that.
Speaking of farm systems, Mike Montgomery has seen a lot of them. The 26-year-old made his Major League debut earlier this season with the Mariners after bouncing around in the Kansas City Royals and Tampa Bay Rays organizations. Montgomery made 97 starts and two relief appearances for the Triple-A affiliates of three different teams before getting the call that every player dreams of. Montgomery has rewarded Seattle’s confidence so far, posting a 2.51 ERA over 61 innings of work.
His advanced metrics don’t paint as pretty of a picture, as Montgomery has a 3.65 FIP and a 4.05 xFIP. FIP and xFIP weigh heavily on strikeouts and walks in their calculations and Montgomery has a below average strikeout rate. He’s a pitch-to-contact southpaw that has gotten fortunate with balls in play and runners on base. His .247 BABIP against is the sixth-lowest among pitchers with at least 60 innings this season. Only Dan Haren has a lower strikeout rate among pitchers with the 10 lowest BABIPs.
For Anibal Sanchez, a major drop in command has turned a mediocre rotation into a bad one. It’s hardly hyperbole to say that Sanchez’s 4.55 ERA, 4.26 FIP, and 3.84 xFIP have made a bad situation worse. The Tigers lost 530.1 innings worth of production from Max Scherzer, Rick Porcello, and Drew Smyly following last season. The expectation would be that Sanchez, who was limited to 126 innings in 2014, would shoulder some of that load. He has not done so thus far.
After allowing just four home runs in 126 innings last season, Sanchez has allowed 19 in 124.2 innings of work this season. When he gives up his 21st homer of the year, it will set a new career high. The amazing thing is that Sanchez’s strikeout rate has ticked up this season, so the swing-and-miss stuff is still there, but the inconsistency from pitch-to-pitch has really hurt the Tigers.
MLB Prediction: Detroit Tigers
The Tigers entered play third in runs scored since Miguel Cabrera left with the calf strain that will sideline him until mid-August. Offense isn’t the problem. The Mariners live and die with the long ball, as they entered play on Tuesday ranked ninth with 98. With Montgomery’s regression and some home run per fly ball regression likely in Sanchez’s profile, the Tigers should have an edge on the mound and in the batter’s box in this one. Detroit has the second-best wOBA in baseball against lefties at .336, which should give Sanchez all the support he needs.