Eye of the Tigers


With the playoffs around the corner, the top teams of Major League Baseball are preparing for a World Series run. September is the month where the best of the best can rest a little bit. They have compiled such good records throughout the course of the season that they can line up their pitching for the postseason. People who have minor injuries can rest them because they can afford to. Teams contending for those wild card spots do not have this luxury. Teams like the Red Sox, Tigers, Dodgers and Braves are in position where they can visit the pit stop for some good maintenance.  All four teams represent the No. 1 seeds if this were a bracket. However, the team with the best chance to win it all this year is the Detroit Tigers.

Detroit-Tigers-Miguel-CabreraMiguel Cabrera. Need I say more? They have the best hitter in baseball and he is having another phenomenal season, chasing the Triple Crown. He may have off-the-field issues, but who cares?  He is becoming one of the best hitters of all-time in terms of power, clutchness and batting average. It does not matter what pitchers he faces. You know the adage, “good pitching beats good hitting,” Not with Cabrera. He reminds me of the Dos Equis Guy, aka the “Most Interesting Man in the World,” except Cabrera advertises hitting. They have invented a new pitching category for pitchers who start against the Tigers when he does not get a hit. A Complete Miguel Cabrera Shutout. Pitchers are relieved when he hits a double because they prevented him from scoring on his own hit. “Miggy Pop,” as his teammates call him, could outhit most of the league using a tennis racket. Slight exaggeration, but he is truly that good. With another Triple Crown in sight, Cabrera will be sharp once October comes around and lead this potent Tigers offense.

In addition to the best hitter, the pitching staff of the Detroit Tigers is second to none. The scariest part is that their ace can easily be outdone at any time by their No. 4 starter. Normally, this would be an awful thing on a team. Not for the Tigers. Justin Verlander has been one of the best pitchers in baseball for a long time. With two no-hitters on his resume, his electric fastball and breaking pitches is a devastating combo. Now, he has had a subpar year by his standards, but all experts know that on any given day another no-hitter can be thrown. He will surely start Game 1 in every series as the leader of this staff

Detroit Tigers v Tampa Bay RaysMax Scherzer is having a breakout season. Very simply, he is 19-3 with a 3.01 ERA as of September 12. His team seems to always give him run support and Scherzer looks like he will be the Game 3 starter. That’s like having to drive the Porsche third because you had to drive the Bentley and Aston Martin first. His last name may be tough to look at, but his pitching this has been anything but. Anibal Sanchez might be the most consistent starter out of the group, proving he is worth every penny that he was signed for in the offseason. Doug Fister is that crafty veteran of the group and could be a No. 1 or 2 starter for most teams. He would have to wait until Game 4 to pitch, if there is a Game 4. From top to bottom, the Tigers’ big four is lethal, all capable of shutting out any team on any given night. Good luck hitters. You are going to need it.

Now let’s take a peek at the supporting cast. The Tigers spent a lot of money landing free agent Prince Fielder and he is doing a great job playing Robin to Batman. First of all, the only reason Cabrera is able to not get pitched around is because Fielder is licking his chops in the on-deck circle. If anything, Fielder has it tougher because he is the one in position to get pitched around in a tight spot. He has remained under the radar a lot, but don’t be surprised if he ended up being the MVP of the team in the postseason. He is posting very solid numbers this year and combined with Cabrera, represent the most formidable 1-2 punch in baseball. It’s a right-handed and a left-handed punch that Canelo Alvarez could have sure used against Floyd Mayweather.

Torii Hunter joined the ball club this year and has rejuvenated his career. After some underachieving seasons with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Hunter is killing it this year. Just like his name, his two eyes help form his identity. And this year, he is seeing the ball brilliantly, hovering around a .300 batting average with a chance at 90 RBI this year. Austin Jackson, like Fielder, is having a respectable year leading the way at the top. The main reason Cabrera has a shot at the Triple Crown is because Jackson and Hunter are always on base. They set the table. A good running back cannot excel without a good offensive line. A good eater cannot eat if there is no food on the table. Maybe that’s why Cabrera has gotten so plump in recent years. This supporting cast around Cabrera makes so many of his at-bats meaningful. They all are patient and know their roles. This lineup is going to be very tough to beat.

Torii+Hunter+Atlanta+Braves+v+Detroit+Tigers+vVruMJbOmsMxSince the Biogenesis suspensions were handed out, the Tigers have reached somewhat of a lull in their season. They lost Jhonny Peralta to this steroid suspension, and some have said that this has gone hand in hand with their plateau in their performance. I think not. Jim Leyland would not let this happen. Let’s cut the Tigers a break. They played in the World Series last year and are eager for it to be October again. Every “championship or bust” team goes through this. The regular season can be boring at times, especially when you play 162 games in a season. They know how good they are and how little meaning the regular season has once a playoff spot has been secured. Leyland, the second oldest manager in the big leagues, has seen a lot of baseball in his day and knows how to manage teams through this phase. Experience is something that the Tigers have on their side all throughout their roster and Leyland is the brains of the operation. He is the jockey and is keeping the reins on his thoroughbred until the final sprint of the race.

The Tigers have comfortably led the AL Central throughout the entire season. Sure, the Indians and Royals have been feel good stories and given Detroit a little reason to cause to pause, as they say, but let’s be honest, it’s the Cleveland Indians and the Kansas City Royals. Kansas City fans have moved on to supporting the Chiefs and Cleveland fans are already looking toward the NFL Draft. They have better hitting than the Dodgers and Braves, subjectively and statistically speaking. And compared to a similar offense in the Red Sox, their pitching staff trumps Red Sox hands down.

The Tigers are equipped with the most powerful offense in baseball, led by Cabrera, the best hitter in baseball. With guys like Fielder, Hunter and Jackson surrounding him in the lineup, crooked numbers can happen in any given inning. Role players in Andy Dirks, Alex Avila and Omar Infante will be crucial as well. Look for many calls to the bullpen by opposing managers. If by some chance the offense has an off night, the hurlers will be waiting to show the team’s true stripes. Pitching is vital in October and the Tigers, led by Verlander and Scherzer, have plenty of it. Throughout the playoffs, the Tigers will have a top pitcher on the bump, and the opposing offenses will have an uphill battle, literally. Throw Leyland into the mix with leadership and experience, the ingredients are in line for a World Series title. You heard it here. Detroit Tigers will be champions at the end of October.


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Paul Culley
Sports Activist for The Cover 4

The Betting Corner: Opening Day


Opening day is finally here. It’s always hard to handicap the first week of any baseball
season. What do you pay attention to? Do you just look at team acquisitions? Do you
pay attention to Spring Training? Do you look at specific match-ups? How about a
specific pitchers history vs a specific team?

In my opinion, its a little bit of everything rolled into one. The fewer relevant stats that
are available the more you’ve got to go with your gut and experience. For opening day,
the lines have been up since 8:30 AM PST this morning and they’ve already begun
moving against us (for the most part). Getting the best possible line in baseball is
crucial, but in a very different way than football or basketball. The spread doesn’t
move (with the exception of totals), but your bets can become more expensive or hold
less value with moneyline movements in the wrong direction. Most people don’t realize
that if every one of your bets jump from -110 to -125, it forces you to win an extra 3.18%
of your bets to break even. That may not seem like a lot, but when you’re betting every
day and grinding out an entire season, winning 56 games out of 100 is way different
than winning 53 games out of 100.

For me, I’ve got 3 accounts with 5Dimes, William Hill, and Station Casinos giving me a
greater opportunity to shop around. But enough small talk. To the first plays of the


**1 Unit – Boston Red Sox at New York Yankees (+118)

This line opened up this morning at +125 but has since moved in the wrong direction
(for us anyways). Jon Lester has killed it this spring giving up only 2 earned runs in 24
IP (0.75 ERA) while striking out 20. Even before this spring I was high on Lester for this
season so it only validates where he stands as the Sox ace. His counterpart in CC
Sabathia has been nursing his new surgically repaired elbow (removed bone
fragments) since October and his low 10 IP and 5.40 ERA this spring tells me he can’t
possibly be 100%.

Jump to the two offenses, New York is aging and riddled with injuries. For Monday’s
game; Granderson – OUT, Texeira – OUT, Jeter – Day to Day (unlikely to play), Hafner –
Day to Day (unlikely to play). That leaves us with the likes of Brett Gardner, Jayson Nix,
Eduardo Nunez, and Ben Francisco to respectively take their spots in the lineup. The
Sox are short David Ortiz but have the firepower to fill the void with their new offseason
acquisitions. Seems like a no brainer at + odds. Contemplated a 1.5 unit play but it’s
still Opening Day in New York City and in no way will be a cake walk for the sox.


1 Unit – Detroit Tigers (-1.5) at Minnesota Twins (-125)

There’s 180 million reasons for this play, and I think anyone who’s got a pulse knows
who each of those reasons are pointing to. Justin Verlander is now the highest paid
pitcher in MLB history and rightfully so. He’s a past MVP, CY Young award winner, and
has World Series experience. That last point is another reason why this is a solid play
IMO. The last time Verlander pitched on a competitive stage was game one of the
2012 World Series where he had one of his worst outings of the year. He didn’t make it
past the fourth inning while giving up five earned runs. The Tigers would later get
swept in 4 with Verlander unable to even start a second game. With the new contract
behind him, you know he’s going to want to come out strong not only to make amends
for the last game he pitched; but to prove he’s worth the money as well.

Vance Worley on the other hand is a #3 starter at best had he been on a contending
team and won’t be able to subdue the defending American League champs. Outside
of Morneau, Mauer, and Willingham, the Twins simply don’t have the personal to go
punch for punch with the Tiger’s, regardless Verlander is on the mound or not.


1 Unit – St. Louis Cardinals at Arizona Diamondbacks Under 8.5 (-105)

I Still have yet to bet this game because I think by tomorrow night we might be able to
get it at Under 9. Regardless it does or doesn’t, I still like the play at 8.5. I’m a little
baffled as to why most the other totals on this card are at 7.5 or even less. Wainwright
sports a career 2.54 ERA in 10 games against Arizona who is now without the likes of
Chris Young and Justin Upton via trades.

Ian Kennedy has struggled against St. Louis in the past but this Cardinals team begins
the season with veterans David Freese and Rafael Furcal on the 15 day DL. With both
teams having fresh bullpens, this is the kind of game I see finishing in the 4-2 range.


Good luck, and lets start off Opening Day with a bang.

Thank you for reading The Cover 4! Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook & Twitter.

Oh yeah, tell your friends too!

Jeremy Murray
Guest Sports Activist for The Cover 4


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All information regarding gambling is intended to be purely educational from an academic perspective, and not to actually encourage gambling. We are in no way condoning gambling and are not affiliated with any and all casinos/sports books mentioned.

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