By: Will Burchfield
The Tigers are going to beat the Mets in the 2017 World Series — according to Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo, at least.
In casting predictions for the upcoming MLB season on his show “High Heat,” Russo eschewed popular opinion and went with a team that he feels is “due” as a tip of the cap to the late Mike Ilitch.
“For Mr. I. I like the Tigers at 25/1,” Russo said, via MLive.com.
The longtime sports radio host cautioned fans to doubt his judgment.
“Remember, I had the Indians (last year) and I also had the Giants in 2010. I’m good at this. I’ll take the Tigers to win the whole thing. Why not? I’m part of the Avila family. They watch every day. I’ll put the whammy on them right off the bat. There you go Al (Avila). You’re going to win the whole thing,” Russo said.
Most pundits believe the Indians are going to win the A.L. Central. But Russo isn’t sold on the defending A.L. champs, pointing to the absence of Jason Kipnis to start the season and the uncertainty surrounding Michael Brantley.
“I think the Indians have a big bullseye on their back. They’re a little banged up to start the year. Kipnis, I know he’s out. Who knows about Brantley, so I could see this team struggling at the start a little bit,” Russo said. “Lot of expectations, that’s always tricky.”
The Tigers have an injury concern of their own in J.D. Martinez, who looks to be sidelined deep into April. And their pitching staff, from the rotation to the bullpen, doesn’t measure up with Cleveland’s. Then there’s the issue of last year, when the Indians beat the Tigers 14 times in 17 tries.
But Russo is going with his gut.
“Detroit’s due,” he said. “I’ll say Tigers to be a little different. I’m picking them to win the American League Central.”
From there, Russo believes the Tigers will knock off the Blue Jays in the ALCS, setting up a showdown with the Mets in the World Series. When the dust settles after seven games, it’ll be the Tigers lifting the trophy.