The 2017 Major League Baseball trade deadline has come and passed, and there are some players who are clearly breathing sighs of relief that they weren’t moved.
The dynamic around baseball has clearly changed with the rich getting richer and teams in the middle of the pack ultimately doing little to change their stances. That’s going to open up some opportunities for great picks in our MLB Pick ‘Em Contests.
MLB Pick For Friday, August 4: Detroit Tigers over Baltimore Orioles
Justin Verlander probably wouldn’t have minded getting traded to a contender, but Detroit is the only place that he has called home throughout his big league career. He sparkled against Houston in what many thought was going to be his final home start in Motown on July 30, fanning six in six shutout innings.
Sure, the Tigers had lost each of Verlander’s previous five starts in the month of July, but it’s not like it was the vet’s fault. He was awful in that first outing against Cleveland, allowing seven runs in 3.1 innings. Since then? Just eight earned runs over 33 innings.
Meanwhile, Baltimore is riding hot at the moment with four straight wins heading into the series finale with Kansas City on Wednesday night. That said, Wade Miley was awful earlier this year against the Tigers, allowing four runs in five innings. He’s coming off of a July in which he had an 8.68 ERA, and that followed a June in which he had a 7.48 ERA. Batters are hitting .305 against Miley since the All-Star break. This is a can’t-miss opportunity.
MLB Pick For Saturday, August 5: Tampa Bay Rays over Milwaukee Brewers
Even though the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees are stealing headlines and the Orioles are playing good baseball, the Rays are hanging around in the AL East race. They enter Wednesday night with a 29-23 record at Tropicana Field and are just four games back of the Sox for the top spot in the division.
Milwaukee’s rotation is up in the air for the weekend with Matt Garza hoping to slot in off the DL somewhere between Thursday and the end of this series. But no matter who the starter is for the Brewers, they’re starting to look vulnerable. The offense from July 27 through August 1 scored a grand total of 10 runs in five games, and one of the top teams in the NL in terms of power has just three homers and seven extra base hits in that span.
Chris Archer has always been a much better pitcher at the Trop than away from it in his career, and his 98/17 K/BB ratio in 11 starts at home is evidence of that success.
A pressing batting order could be forced into some bad spots against one of the more overpowering righties in the game. So what if Archer gave up four runs in six frames against the Astros in his last outing? It happens against the best team in the AL from time to time. Archer is still consistent, hasn’t allowed more than four earned runs in any start since May and now gets to feast on a lineup full of guys who have rarely—if ever—seen him in his career.
All signs point to a Tampa Bay ‘W’ on Sunday, even if the Brew Crew do send out Jimmy Nelson for this start as scheduled.