Tigers Catching Points Against Porcello & Flu-Ridden Red Sox Sunday

Jay Pryce

Sunday, April 9, 2017 2:06 PM UTC

Sunday, Apr. 9, 2017 2:06 PM UTC

Detroit looks to make it three wins in a row over a sickly Red Sox team, but must overcome reigning Cy Young winner and former Tiger Rick Porcello first.

Boston Red Sox vs Detroit TigersBoston Red Sox (2-2)

The flu is terrorizing the Red Sox locker room. Mookie Betts, who was away from the team the last three days due to illness, is expected to be back in the lineup for Sunday. Andrew Benintendi’s status is up in the air, however, after throwing up in the middle of yesterday’s game, and reliever Joe Kelly is sick with the virus. Others feeling under the weather include: Brock Holt, Robbie Ross Jr. Mitch Moreland, and Pedro Sandoval. Xander Bogaerts, away for bereavement, is due back Monday.

All in all, Boston’s a bit thin throughout the roster, but it might not mean much with ace Rick Porcello (1-0, 4.26 ERA) expected to make the start. Last year’s AL Cy Young Award winner picked up a victory in his season debut over the Pirates 5-3 on Monday. The Sox are now 26-9 SU as a team with Porcello commanding the hill since the start of 2016. Winning on the run line (25-10) is making bettors big profits, returning 54 percent at +115 average odds.

Porcello is just 1-0 with a 1.29 ERA in two career starts against his former team. He’s holding the current Detroit roster to a combined .544 OPS and .224 average. Overall, Detroit hitters are 13-for-58 with 14 strikeouts and zero home runs.

Boston is just 3-7 SU in their last 10 versus the Tigers after dropping the first two in the four-game series by scores of 6-5 and 4-1. Starting pitching is mostly to blame, producing just three quality outings in the span, including Porcello’s only trip to the hill in a 10-2 blowout over Detroit last August.


Detroit Tigers (3-1)

The Tigers score 4.5 runs per game to open the season, aided by a bevy of home runs. They’re swatting 1.75 long balls per contest. Only the Rangers and Nationals have more in the majors at 1.8. In the last calendar year, when Detroit is held homerless at Comerica Park, it is just 8-18 SU with the UNDER hitting at 33 percent. In home outings with multiple bombs, the Tigers are 26-6 SU overall.

Pitcher Daniel Norris is slated to get the start on Sunday afternoon. The southpaw experienced shoulder fatigue late in spring training and took a pounding in a few outings. Norris went 4-2 with a 3.38 ERA in 13 starts last season in his second stint with the club. He was traded to the Blue Jays in the latter half of 2015, but returned to Detroit last year. The Tigers are 14-7 SU when Norris takes the pill, in his career winning six of his last seven starts.

Boston got the better of Norris in three career appearances. The southpaw is 0-2 with a 8.31 ERA, yielding 17 hits in 8.2 innings. Norris has pitched so-so against the Red Sox’s current roster, allowing a combined .280 batting average and .677 OPS.


Final Analysis

It’s hard to stomach (no pun intended) backing a team battling the flu, even behind the reigning Cy Young winner. One, if not both starters, may not make it through six innings, which will make it a bullpen battle. Boston is short-handed at reliever, and Detroit’s backend looks every bit as bad as last season with a 7.53 ERA in 14.1 innings of work in 2017. Go against the line movement on the total. OVER 8 is the play.

Free MLB Pick: Over 7.5Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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