(Whit Merrifield photo courtesy Peter Aiken/USA TODAY Sports)
This is the full preview(s) as seen on the Winners and Whiners and Stat Salt websites. The confidence rating for all picks on a scale from 1 to 5 is in parentheses.
Note: The 5/5 does NOT represent the best overall pick of the day’s games when there are multiple games, simply the best pick(s) from each individual game.
When and Where: Saturday, Aug. 10, Comerica Park, Detroit, Mich., 6:10 p.m. EDT.
Run support, or lack thereof, has been the defining part of starts involving Mike Montgomery and Spencer Turnbull. The two look to snap out of their respective recent funks and get some backing Saturday night when Montgomery and the Kansas City Royals continue their series versus Turnbull and the Detroit Tigers.
Montgomery again bids for first win since joining Royals
In the case of Montgomery (0-3, 6.61 ERA), the left-hander has had only one solid outing among his four starts in addition to the lack of offensive support. He has not pitched more than five innings in any of his four starts while giving up four or more runs in three of them.
Despite losing back-to-back outings, Montgomery found positives after his five-inning effort in Tuesday’s 7-5 loss at Boston. He threw a season-high 90 pitches and matched a season high in innings while allowing four runs — three sccoring on two homers — and seven hits while striking out a season-best seven.
“I thought it was definitely the best stuff I thought I had all year,” Montgomery told the Royals’ official website. “You’re always looking for results, but for me personally, I think it’s definitely something to build off of. I made a lot of good quality pitches. I’d really like the mistake back — the two-run homer — but other than that, I thought I threw the ball really well, did a lot of good things out there.”
Montgomery has not faced the Tigers since 2016 when he pitched 3 1-3 scoreless innings in relief. He lost his only start against them the season before, getting drilled for eight runs in 2 2-3 innings of a 9-4 loss. Tigers shortstop Jordy Mercer hit the southpaw hard while playing for the Pirates, going 4 for 9 with a homer and a double.
Turnbull again bids for first victory since late May
The Tigers have given Turnbull (3-9, 3.72) more than two runs of support just once during his eight-start winless streak that includes five defeats and a stint on the injured list. The right-hander’s 3.28 average run support would be the lowest in the American League if he had enough innings to qualify.
Turnbull was operating on a pitch count Tuesday against the White Sox in his first start since recovering from a back injury, which explains his outing being cut short after three innings and 76 pitchers. He did manage to work a full pitching line in, striking out seven and walking three while yielding two runs and two hits in Detroit’s eventual 7-4 loss.
The righty has seen plenty of the Royals this year — this will be his fifth start against them. Turnbull did not record a decision in any of the previous four and had his first poor outing in the most recent matchup July 12 when they reached him for five runs and four hits in three innings of Detroit’s 8-5 loss.
Turnbull had limited Kansas City to four runs in 19 innings in the first three games, striking out 22. Jorge Soler has enjoyed some success, going 4 for 11 with three doubles in their matchups.
The Tigers are:
- 7-1 in their last eight home games vs. the Royals.
The Royals are:
- 2-12 in their last 14 Saturday games.
- 18-63 in their last 81 during game 3 of a series.
- 0-4 in Montgomery’s last four starts.
Tigers OVER 4.5 runs (-131)
With a chance to win three straight games for the first time since May, the expectation is the Tigers will find a way to get to Montgomery after scoring at least five runs for the third time in four games Friday night. In addition to the five home runs they have hit in the first two games, the Tigers are creating scoring opportunities. Detroit is 4 for 20 with runners in scoring position the last two games, and a few more hits in those instances should help this number deliver.
OVER 9.5 runs (-105)
For all the talk of the lack of run support regarding Montgomery and Turnbull, their lack of consistency is a compelling reason to take the over. It has gone 3-1-1 in Turnbull’s last five starts against division rivals and 5-1 in his last six at home against sub-.500 teams.
The over has also gone 3-1 in Montgomery’s four starts since joining the Royals, with opponents scoring at least five runs in all four contests. The over is 6-2 in Kansas City’s last eight AL Central contests and 8-3 in its last 11 versus sub-.400 opponents.
Tigers ML (-131)
Though both pitchers are coming off credible outings, Turnbull’s relatively solid track record against the Royals makes the Tigers the pick. Detroit also has extended its unusual home supremacy of Kansas City in the first two games of this series — seven of its 16 home victories this year have come at the expense of the Royals — and the belief is Turnbull will be sharper than Montgomery.
Tigers -0.5 runs first 5 innings (Even)
The Tigers are 6-1-1 at the midway point at home in the season series after grabbing leads each of the last two night. They are 2-1-1 after five innings in Turnbull’s four starts versus Kansas City, including a 1-0-1 mark at home.
While Detroit has not led in any of Turnbull’s last six starts dating back to mid-June, the Royals are only 1-3 in Montgomery’s four starts and have trailed by four or more runs in all three in which they trailed.
UNDER 5.5 runs first 5 innings (-136)
This is a case where the hook comes into play, though the pitchers make this close to a toss-up. The under is 1-3 in Montgomery’s four starts, but the Royals have also totaled four runs in the first five innings of those games.
The over/under has split Turnbull’s four starts against Kansas City this year, but the Tigers have also failed to score in the first five innings in eight of his 20 starts. One gets the sense there will either be no runs or a bunch with little in between, but the lean is to the former.
Tigers OVER 1.5 runs first 3 innings (+115)
The Tigers have scored two or more runs in the first three innings in four of their last six games, including the first two in this series, and Montgomery has been prone to early inning mistakes since joining Kansas City’s rotation. He has allowed two or more runs in the first three innings in three of his four starts and also allowed three home runs in those games.