After a fast start, the Tigers enter Minute Maid Park riding a four-game slide. Detroit comes in at the bottom of the AL Central standings with a 3-6 overall record and will have to play without slugger Miguel Cabrera for the foreseeable future. Cabrera was recently placed on the 10-day injured list with a left biceps strain. Meanwhile, Houston is fresh off of a disappointing series loss against the Oakland A’s after dropping back-to-back games over the weekend.
Can the Astros bounce back with a win at home over the struggling Tigers on Monday night?
Mize hoping to make the most of increased velocityDetroit was unable to close its series on the road in Cleveland with a win on Sunday, falling short 5-2 for its fourth straight loss. Wilson Ramos continued his hot start to the season, hitting his fourth home run of the year while Jeimer Candelario added an RBI in the loss.
The Tigers are scheduled to hand the ball to right-hander Casey Mize for his second start of the season on Monday night. Mize was solid in his 2021 season debut but still lasted just four innings of work due to an elevated pitch count. The 23-year-old limited the Minnesota Twins to just one run on five hits and two walks but was rendered with a no-decision for his efforts in a 4-3 extra-innings win.
Mize’s seven-start cup of coffee at the big league level didn’t quite go as planned for the Tigers’ prospect. He finished 0-3 with a disappointing 6.99 ERA to go along with a pedestrian 2:1 K:BB ratio as a rookie. However, Mize’s average fastball velocity was up 2.5 miles per hour during his first start, which might help miss more big-league bats in his first full season.
This will be Mize’s first career outing against the Astros.
Greinke seeks third straight quality start of 2021Houston came up short 7-3 at home against the division-rival Oakland Athletics on Sunday. Kyle Tucker homered while Jose Altuve and Michael Brantley also drove in runs during a three-run seventh-inning but it wasn’t enough for the Astros to come away with a series win.
Veteran right-hander Zack Greinke is scheduled to toe the rubber in the opening game of Houston’s series against the Tigers on Monday. Greinke has turned in the two longest starts by an Astros’ pitcher so far this season. He comes in with a 1-0 record to go along with a 1.38 ERA and has tossed quality starts in each of his first two outings this season.
Despite declining fastball velocity, Greinke has been able to hone in on his command as he’s gotten older. Last season, he walked a career-low 1.21 batters per nine innings of work while increasing his strikeout rate to a batter per inning for the first time since the 2017 season.
Greinke has also performed well against the Tigers throughout his career. In 29 games (26 starts), the Astros’ right-hander has escaped with a career 13-7 overall record to go along with a 2.69 ERA. While Greinke has a lot of experience against Detroit, he hasn’t seen many of the members of the current lineup. According to Baseball Savant, current Tigers are batting just .154 in 30 plate appearances off of the Astros’ right-hander heading into Monday’s matchup.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
As good as Greinke has been, you have to believe there is some value on the Tigers in this spot. Mize looked sharp in his 2021 debut and should be able to make use of his increased fastball velocity. Meanwhile, Greinke's strikeout rate has dwindled to a pedestrian 5.54 batters per nine innings of work through his first two starts, which isn't a good sign for his long-term prospects. After dropping four straight, look for the ball to bounce the Tigers' way in this one. Take Detroit to come out on top in this American League battle on Sunday afternoon
Full-Game Total Pick
These two teams are projected for 8.5 runs but I’m not sure we’re going to come close to approaching that number here. Mize appears to be on a short leash right now, so I expect him to look sharp once again here. The Tigers’ starter has seen his velocity jump by 2.5 miles per hour since his rookie campaign and should be able to miss more bats as a result. Meanwhile, Greinke’s stuff has gotten less flashy over the years but he remains one of the most consistent and effective pitchers in the big leagues. Take this matchup to stay under the projected total on Monday night.