Red Sox Will End 2-Game Skid at Tigers' Expense

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Friday, June 9, 2017 1:07 PM GMT

The Tigers turn to Jordan Zimmermann in the opener of a three-game series vs. the Red Sox at Fenway Park Friday (7:10 p.m. ET). Boston sends out the inexperienced Brian Johnson. Betting pick and preview here.

Detroit Tigers (29-30)

With Miguel Cabrera as its anchor, the Tigers field a top-tier lineup every season. They average 4.88 runs per game currently, ninth best in the bigs. One would think it is Detroit’s ability to score runs propelling the club to a 7-2 SU record at the hitting-friendly Fenway Park since 2014. Nope. It’s the pitching. The Tigers allow 3.33 runs on 8.56 hits per game in this span. They’ve swept two of the last three series in Boston.

Jordan Zimmermann hopes to keep the good pitching performances going despite inconsistency this season. He takes the pill for manager Brad Ausmus. The veteran right-hander is battling with his game following an injury-riddled 2016 where he sustained separate neck groin, and shoulder issues. Zimmermann ranks in the bottom five of all qualifying MLB starters in ERA (5.98), FIP (6.25), and HR/9 (2.34). The two-time All-Star has gifted four earned runs or more in seven of 11 starts this season.

Zimmermann, however, is coming off his best outing of the season, picking up the win in a 10-1 rout over the White Sox. He allowed 1 earned run on 7 hits in 6.0 innings. Overall, he is 5-4 with a 5.98 ERA.

Since last year’s All-Star break, the Tigers allow 6.14 runs per game when Zimmermann starts. He’s put in three quality starts in 14 outings, including his last appearances. Opponents have scored five or more runs in all but three contests. The average total score is 11.64 runs. The 'over' is 10-4.

 

Boston Red Sox (32-27)

The Red Sox are quietly coming to life following a flat start to open the season. Despite dropping two in a row and their most recent series at the Yankees, Boston is 11-6 SU in its last 17 games. Oddsmakers pegged the Sox over/under 92.5 wins prior to the season and -160 favorites to win the AL East. The club sits 3 games back of the Pinstripers in the division.

Boston skipper John Farrell sends Brian Johnson to the hill for his fourth career MLB start. The southpaw, one of four making up the current rotation, takes the place of Eduardo Rodriguez, who is out indefinitely with a right knee issue. Johnson is a soft-tosser, maxing out in the high 80s with his fastball. His curve is his best pitch, which in tops on the staff when sharp.

Johnson is 2-0 with a 2.57 ERA in two appearances this season. He baffled the Mariners last time out on May 27. Johnson tossed a complete-game shutout, striking out 8 and yielding 5 hits. The former first-round pick allowed 4 earned in 5 frames in his season debut at Toronto on April 18. Johnson started 8 games at Triple-A Pawtucket this year, going 2-0 with a 2.72 ERA.

 

Final Analysis

The Sox are 14-6 SU when chalk vs. teams scoring more runs then them on the season. This signals a favorable pitching matchup, Boston averaging 5.90 runs per game. Most of the damage has come late in contests. The team has owned a lead through the first five innings in just eight of the 20 games. Expect the Sox to chase Zimmermann early and beat up on a bottom-tier Tigers bullpen (4.80 ERA, 25th in MLB) for my MLB pick.

Free MLB Pick: Red Sox On RL (+140)Best Line Offered: Heritage

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