Tigers Open Series Against Nationals Print
Monday, 18 June 2007 02:00
MLB Headline News

Tigers Return to RFK

The Detroit Tigers hope their recent interleague success can continue in a stadium they have not played in for almost 36 years when they visit the Washington Nationals on Monday.

Detroit is returning to RFK Stadium for the first time since Sept. 1971, when it swept a three-game series from the Washington Senators - who relocated and became the Texas Rangers the following season.

Oddsmakers have made Detroit -150 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 8.5 total runs (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 88% of bets for this game have been placed on Detroit -150 (View MLB Bet Percentages).

The Tigers (39-29) are 23-7 against the NL since the start of 2006, hitting .306 and having their rotation post a 3.37 ERA in those contests. They used that superb hitting Sunday to score five runs in a seventh-inning rally en route to a 7-4 win at Philadelphia to take two of three from the Phillies.

Detroit now gives the ball to Mike Maroth (4-2, 4.91 ERA), who looks to build on one of his best outings of the season in his first start against Washington.

The left-hander allowed one run and nine hits in seven innings Wednesday only to have reliever Fernando Rodney surrender a two-out, two-run home run in the eighth as Detroit lost 3-2 to Milwaukee.

"I made some pitches when I needed them," Maroth told the team's official Web site. "Got some ground balls when I needed them."

Maroth has not won an interleague start since June 15, 2005, when he allowed one run and six hits in eight innings of an 8-2 victory over San Diego. Since then, he is 0-1 with a 2.88 ERA in four starts against the NL.

The Nationals (30-39) salvaged a win in the finale of a three-game series with Toronto Sunday, registering a 4-2 victory to finish 6-3 on their road trip. Prior to the trip, Washington went 3-6 on a homestand.

"It's a big step forward for us," Nationals closer Chad Cordero said. "Hopefully we can keep it going."

Washington, in fifth place in the NL East, hopes to continue winning with Matt Chico (3-4, 4.66) on the mound. Chico has not won in a month, but he has a 3.45 ERA in his last five starts and the Nationals have won four of those outings.

The rookie left-hander allowed three runs and eight hits in 6 2-3 innings Wednesday as the Nationals beat Baltimore 9-6 in 11 innings.

"I don't really care about my record as long as we get a win," Chico told the team's official Web site. "That's all that matters. My confidence is good. I feel more confident and stronger every outing I go. I trust myself more and just rely on the defense."

Chico could also rely on the hot-hitting Ryan Zimmerman. The third baseman has home runs in consecutive games and has gone 9-for-25 with six RBIs in the last six contests.

"He's been hot for the last month or so," Nationals manager Manny Acta said. "He's a big part of our lineup."

Despite Zimmerman's recent success, the Nationals still have scored the fewest runs (268) in the NL.

by: Michael Cash - thespread.com – Email Us

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