It’s a possible playoff preview as the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox host the AL Central-leading Detroit Tigers for a three-game series. Follow along, as we share our top MLB picks for tonight's rubber match.
Wednesday's Game Three
By: Ron Patrick
Boston got this series to even with a 2-1 victory Tuesday
night, keeping Detroit's Max Scherzer from becoming the second pitcher ever to
start a season 20-1.
The Sox won as -110 favorites on Tuesday's MLB betting line.
Tigers slugger Miguel Cabrera, after missing three straight
games, played Tuesday night, but didn't have much to say, going 0-for-4.
These two teams rank 1-2 in the Majors in scoring, but the
first two games of this series have both played UNDER on the totals.
So it's rubber-match time when the teams meet Wednesday
night (7:10 pm ET, ESPN).
As of Wednesday morning most sportsbooks were listing Boston and
Ryan Dempster at around -120 over Detroit and Rick Porcello, with MLB odds listing the total at 9.5 or 10.
Ryan Dempster (7-9, 4.75), by our tough accounting, is just
10-for-26 on quality starts this year, and just one for his last eight. Last
time out he gave up three ER in 6 1/3 innings against the White Sox, and over
his last eight starts he's allowed 32 ER in 44 2/3 innings.
On the season Dempster has given up 154 hits, including 24
homers, in 151 2/3 innings, walked 67 and struck out 137.
He's also just 5-7 with a 4.93 ERA at Fenway Park this year.
Boston is 15-11 in Dempster's starts this year, and despite
his recent struggles, during which his ERA has risen from 4.04 to 4.75, the Sox
have won seven of his last eight outings, thanks mainly to some great run
It's almost hard to believe, but this will be Dempster's
first start against Detroit since 2002, when he was pitching for the Marlins.
Rick Porcello (11-7, 4.44) is just 9-for-25 on quality starts
this season. Last time out he held Cleveland to two runs through a
rain-shortened 5 2/3 innings, but over his last five starts he's allowed 16 ER
and 33 hits in 28 2/3 innings.
On the season Porcello has allowed 158 hits in 148 innings,
walked 35 and struck out 111.
Detroit lost nine of Porcello's first 15 starts this year,
but has won eight of his last 10 outings.
This will be Porcello's first start vs. Boston since he gave
up four runs and eight hits in 5 2/3 innings of a 7-5 Tigers victory back in
August of last season.
The totals are a combined 28-22 in Dempster and Porcello's
starts this season.
Our Take on
Neither of these two pitchers has done a whole lot to
impress us this season. Also, after two low-scoring games, we're thinking the
bats might break loose tonight. So while we're not sure who's going to win this
game, we'll go with the OVER for our free MLB pick for Wednesday.
Take the OVER 9.5 runs at the -115 offered at
Tuesday's Game Two
By: Ron Patrick
Detroit took Game 1 of this series Monday afternoon 3-0
behind a quality start from Doug Fister, scoring twice in the seventh inning
and once in the eighth to break a scoreless tie.
The Tigers won as +135 post-time underdogs on Monday's MLB odds board, and the game played UNDER its total of nine.
So Detroit can take the series when the teams meet for Game
2 Tuesday night (7:10 pm ET).
In the early going most sportsbooks were listing Tuesday's game,
which matches lefty Jon Lester against Cy Young candidate Max Scherzer, at
right around a pick 'em, with a total of 8.5.
Lester (12-8, 3.99), by our tough standards, is only
12-for-28 on quality starts this season, but four for his last five. Last time
out he gave up three runs in six innings against Baltimore, but over his four
starts previous to that he held foes to just four ER over 29 innings.
On the season Lester has given up 174 hits in 178 innings,
walked 60 and struck out 145.
Boston is 16-12 in Lester's starts this year, but only 4-6
over his last 10 outings.
In his one start this season against Detroit Lester allowed
five runs and nine hits in 5 2/3 innings of a 10-6 Sox victory back in June.
Last year, in two starts vs. the Tigers, Lester gave up five ER through 13 2/3
Max Scherzer (19-1, 2.90) is going for his 20th
victory of the season, and can become just the second pitcher ever to start
20-1 (Clemens became the first, for the Yankees in 2001). He's 21-for-27 on
quality starts this year, and seven for his last eight. Last time out Scherzer
got sliced for five ER in five innings against Oakland, but just before that he
had run off seven QS in a row.
For the season Scherzer has allowed just 128 hits in 183
innings, walked 43 and struck out 201.
Detroit is a very profitable 22-5 in Scherzer's starts this
Scherzer is also 8-0 with a 2.14 ERA on the road this
In his one start this year against Boston Scherzer gave up
two runs and six hits in seven innings of a 10-3 Tigers victory back in June.
But last year, in three starts vs. the Sox, Scherzer got roughed up for 15 ER
in 15 innings; somehow Detroit won two of those games.
Detroit's Miguel Cabrera sat out Monday's game because of an
abdominal strain, but he might play Tuesday night. Bettors might want to check
the line-up card before betting this game, especially considering Cabrera is
10-for-16 for his career against Lester.
Our Take on Tuesday's
This is a tough one; Scherzer has been great this season,
but his track record against Boston isn't too hot. Lester has been better as of
late, but his recent track record against Detroit isn't anything to brag about.
And we're not sure if Cabrera is going to play. But one thing catches our attention;
the Tigers are 24 games above .500 overall this year, but only 21-19 against
left-handers. So we'll go with the Red Sox for our free MLB pick for Tuesday.
Pick: Take Boston
at the -107 offered at The Greek.
By: Ron Patrick
This series should be fun to watch. And since we'll be
watching, we might as well be betting.
Here's how we handicap Monday's game, and this series.
Usually we list the “injury update” section lower in these
previews, but when Detroit's Miguel Cabrera is ailing, the news comes at the
top. Cabrera, who's only leading the Majors in hitting and RBI, has missed
recent action with a combination of an abdominal strain and a sore hip/leg, and
is questionable for Monday and this series.
So far this season, though, the Tigers are 8-2 without
As of Monday morning, most sportsbooks were listing Boston and John
Lackey at around -130 over Detroit and Doug Fister, with a total of nine.
Also, TheGreek.com was chalking the Sox at MLB odds of -135 to win this
series, with the Tigers getting +115.
Boston just swept three games at home from the White Sox,
winning Sunday 7-6. So the Sox have won four series in a row.
Detroit just took two of three games at home from Cleveland,
missing out on the sweep by losing Sunday 4-0.
So at 82-56 Boston leads the AL East by 5.5 games, while
80-57 Detroit leads the AL Central by 7.5 games. Which means the Sox lead the
Tigers by a game and a half in the battle for the best record in the American
In the only previous meeting this season between these teams
Detroit took three of four games from Boston at Comerica Park back in June.
Three of those four games played OVER on the totals, as the teams combined to
score 48 runs.
Lackey (8-11, 3.19) is, by our tough accounting, 16-for-24
on quality starts this season, and three for his last three. Last time out he
held the Orioles to three runs through 7 1/3 innings, and over his last three
starts he's given up six ER in 22 innings.
On the season Lackey has allowed 149 hits in 155 innings,
walked 33 and whiffed 134.
He's also 5-2 with a 2.24 ERA at Fenway this year.
However, because of some poor run support, the Sox are only
11-13 in Lackey's starts this year.
Also, the totals have leaned by a lopsided 20-3 margin
toward the UNDERS in Lackey's starts.
In his one start this year against Detroit Lackey gave up
two runs in seven innings of a game Boston eventually lost 4-3.
Fister (11-7, 3.81) is 18-for-27 on quality starts this
year, but only one for his last four. Last time out he got roughed up for seven
runs and 13 hits in five innings against Oakland, and over his last four starts
he's allowed 15 ER in 23 2/3 innings. However, just before that he had strung
together five QS in a row.
On the season Fister has given up 191 hits in 172 2/3
innings, walked 33 and struck out 127.
Detroit is 15-12 in Fister's starts this year, with the O/Us
In his one start this year against Boston Fister got bombed
for six runs and 11 hits in 3 1/3 innings of a 10-6 Tigers loss back in June.
As for the bullpens in this series the Sox rank 16th
with a 3.60 ERA and have blown 20 of 48 save opportunities, while Detroit ranks
25th with a 3.94 ERA but has converted 31 of 44 save opps.
Tigers-Sox With the
These are the two highest-scoring teams in baseball; Detroit
ranks No. 1 in team OBP at .350, second in homers with 160 and first in scoring
at 5.1 runs per game, while Boston ranks second in OBP at .347, 11th
in homers with 140 and second in scoring at just under 5.1 RPG.
Injury Update, Part 2
Boston OF Shane Victorino, who knocked in seven runs a few
games ago against Baltimore, left Sunday's game with a bruised hip, and Detroit
OF Austin Jackson has missed recent action with a sore shoulder. Both are iffy
for Monday's game. Also, Tigers SS Jhonny Peralta is on suspension. Bettors
might want to consult the pre-game lineup cards before getting down on this
Boston is 45-24 at home this season.
Detroit is 36-30 on the road.
The OVER/UNDERS are 30-35 in games played at Fenway Park
Our Take on Monday's
Lackey gets the edge in the pitching match-up, and Detroit
is a little banged up. So we like the Red Sox. But we also like to gamble, so
we'll go with a run-line bet on Boston for our free MLB pick for Monday.
Free Pick: Take the
Sox giving the run and a half at the +160 offered at 5Dimes.