Porcello And Fulmer Set to Duel as Red Sox and Tigers Tussle

Rick Porcello

Jay Pryce

Friday, August 19, 2016 1:50 PM GMT

Two of the American League's best square off in Detroit Friday night as Rick Porcello and the Red Sox clash against Michael Fulmer and the Tigers. Check out our free pick and betting preview here. 

Boston Red Sox vs Detroit Tigers

Boston Red Sox (67-53) – Rick Porcello (16-3, 3.30 ERA)
After blowing four leads in an eight-game stretch just after the All-Star break, Boston’s bullpen woes looked to behind them, until last night. Carrying a 3-1 lead into the eighth and six outs away from claiming the weekend's series opener against the Tigers, Junichi Tazawa, and Brad Ziegler combined to give up three runs in the bottom of the inning, losing 4-3 and snapping Boston’s six-game win streak.

The relief may have little to do tonight, as skipper John Farrell sends Rick Porcello to the mound. Porcello is 8-1 in his last nine outings, working deep through six innings in each. In fact, he’s put in 11 quality starts in his last 13 times commanding the hill. Overall, the Sox are 18-6 in his starts, but all six defeats occurred away from Fenway, where the team is 5-6 overall.

Porcello pitched a no-decision in his only career start against his former team in July 2015, allowing one earned run on five hits in seven innings. Former Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler is 9-for-17 against with two doubles, one triple, and a productive eight RBI.

The Red Sox, smashing home an MLB-leading 5.5 runs per game, are 18-15 since the break. Their 1.4 average winning margin in this stretch ranks third in the bigs behind the Cubs (2.2) and division-rival Rays (1.7). Holding opponents to 3.7 runs per game, the UNDER is 21-12, returning slightly more than 20 percent profit to bettors.

 

Detroit Tigers (64-57) – Michael Fulmer (10-3, 2.25 ERA)
Detroit is just 3-8 in its last 11 games, sitting six games back of the Indians for the AL Central lead. It trails AL East contenders Boston and Baltimore by 3.5 games for one of two wild-card spots. A victory tonight will help trim their lead.

Manager Brad Ausmus turns to rookie sensation Michael Fulmer for the matchup. The Tigers are 16-3 when Fulmer starts, returning a whopping 69 percent profit at -101 average MLB odds. The right-hander’s 2.25 ERA is the lowest in the AL, and he’s allowed two earned runs or less in 13 of his last 15 outings. Overall, he and his relief yield just 2.9 runs per game.

Fulmer just shut down the high-powered Red Sox 4-3 at Fenway a mere four starts ago, giving up three earned runs on seven hits in 7.2 frames. It’s his only appearance against the club. Second baseman Dustin Pedroia and shortstop Xander Bogaerts each blasted a solo shot in the game, just the second time all season Fulmer’s gifted more than one home run in a contest.

Fulmer tossed his first MLB complete game and shutout in his last effort, mowing down the Rangers 7-0 in hitting-friendly Arlington. He struck out 10 and walked none with is lighting-fast four-seamer, slider, and sinker. The rookie has thrown 1,815 pitches in 2016, though, and the front office is growing concerned with his pitch count. He’ll likely skip a start or two down in September, but expect him to go the distance in this meaningful meeting.

 

Final Analysis
The Red Sox 45 home runs in the last calendar month leads MLB, with the Tigers ranking ninth (37). But if these teams are not blasting bombs, runs are tough to come by lately. Since the break, the UNDER is 20-6 if the Sox slugs two home runs or fewer in a game while 17-7-1 for the Tigers. Fulmer and Porcello both specialize in keeping the ball in the park with a 0.75 HR/9 and 1.03 HR/9 mark on the season. We’ll play the UNDER 8.5 (-101) as our free MLB pick with both starters likely to keep hitters off balance and work deep into the contest.

 

Free MLB Pick: Under 8.5 -101
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

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