One losing streak was stopped and another continued when the Detroit Tigers opened their weekend series against the Boston Red Sox with a victory. Detroit's 6-2 decision ended a 5-game run of L's for the Tigers while extending Boston's skid to four games, and the two squads get the spotlight with a prime-time broadcast of Saturday's middle tilt of the 3-game set.
Game 2 is set for a 7:15 PM (ET) first pitch with big FOX providing the telecast, and it features a rematch of a pitching duel about three weeks ago in Boston where Jon Lester and Max Scherzer hooked up in a 1-0 contest. Detroit won that one, and the Tigers are favorites from -125 to -140 on SBR's live MLB odds to do it again Saturday. Baseball bettors are looking at 7.5 or 8 for the total, depending where they place their wagers.
Detroit spotted Boston an early 1-0 lead on Friday, but Drew Smyly and his bullpen settled in after that to thwart Red Sox hitters while Tiger hitters went to work on Rubby De La Rosa. Back-to-back homers by Ian Kinsler and Torii Hunter in the fifth gave the Tigers the cushion they would need.
Lester vs. Scherzer,
Mound battles between staff aces often disappoint, but that certainly wasn't the case at Fenway on May 16 when Lester and Scherzer locked horns. A 2-out RBI single by Hunter in the first provided the game's only plate crossing, the two hurlers combining to work 11 innings while striking out 14.
Lester also dropped a 1-0 decision to the Tigers in Game 1 of last year's ALCS, his Red Sox held hitless by Anibal Sanchez and the Detroit bullpen until Daniel Nava's 1-out single in the ninth. The Boston southpaw is 1-0 at Comerica Park with a 4.57 ERA in three career starts.
Detroit has lost two of Scherzer's three starts since he beat Lester in May, the righthander pitching to a 7.32 ERA in those outings. His last four outings were on the road, and the Tigers are unbeaten in his last 11 starts in Detroit (five this season), Scherzer's ERA a sparkling 2.04 in that span.
Umpire Note, Mother
Nature & A Free Pick
Vic Carapazza should have the plate for the umpire crew in Game 2, his 13th assignment calling balls and strikes this season with seven of the previous 12 staying 'under' the total. Home chalk is 6-1 this year when Carapazza is under the mask, and both oh his previous plate assignments in Detroit went 'over' the mark.
Mostly clear skies should dominate the evening when the thermometer is still in the upper-70s for the start of the match. Batters will be looking into a light SE breeze (in from left-center), and there's a good chance showers will develop overnight in advance of Sunday's game, another prime-time broadcast on ESPN.
I'm going to ride the Red Sox streak of losses in this one and fade Boston for my free pick.
My Pick: Tigers -125
Season: 59-55 (+3.40)