Max Scherzer of the Tigers is in great form right now with seven Quality Starts in his last eight outings while Clay Buchholz of the Red Sox has come around by allowing one run in each of his last two starts. Go ‘under’ Monday.
Two hot pitchers should result in not too many runs scored when Max Scherzer and the Detroit Tigers (54-48 overall, 26-27 away) take on Clay Buchholz and the Boston Red Sox (51-51 overall, 25-28 home) on Monday night as the teams kick off a three-game series from Fenway Park in Boston, MA at 7:10 ET.MLB Pick
The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 9½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -104.
The Tigers were picked by many to run away with the American League Central this season before the year started, but they virtually sleepwalked through the first half of the season and didn’t start playing winning baseball until recently, as they are 15-6 in their last 21 games to go to six games over .500 and move up to second place, now 1½ games behind the first place Chicago White Sox.
Detroit had actually tied the White Sox atop the division early last week, but the Tigers are coming off of a disappointing 2-4 week that ended with them losing two out of three games to the Toronto Blue Jays this weekend. At least the win came yesterday 4-1 as the Tigers avoided getting swept. This series will end a nine-game road trip for them before returning home to face what is currently the third place team in the AL Central, the Cleveland Indians, on Friday.
Now Justin Verlander is the undeniable ace of the Detroit starting staff, but Monday’s starter Scherzer is the number two starter and the 28-year-old has come into his own this year and is getting better as the season has gone on.
Scherzer is 10-5 on the season, and although his ERA still stands at a high 4.49, it is heading in the right direction, going down by nearly 1½ runs as Scherzer has reeled off seven Quality Starts in his last eight outings. Scherzer was the only Detroit pitcher to get a win in a three-game series at Cleveland last week as he limited the Indians to only two runs and three hits in seven innings with eight strikeouts.
Scherzer has always been a strikeout pitcher but he has taken things to new heights this season with 142 of them in just 116.1 innings, and he now ranks third in the America League in strikeouts behind Felix Hernandez and his teammate Verlander.
“Mighty Max” may be 1-2 with a 9.82 ERA in five career starts vs. Boston, but oddly, while he has been atrocious in three career starts vs. the Red Sox in Detroit, he is a perfect two for two in Quality Starts here in Fenway with the latest coming this season.
The Red Sox looked to be having a lost season until the last couple of days, as they are surprisingly in last place in the American League East. However, they showed some spirit by beating the New York Yankees each of the last two days in Yankee Stadium, leaving Boston a still manageable 9½ games behind the Bronx Bombers with a little over two months of the season left. They now look to build on that momentum with Buchholz on the bump.
Buchholz is 8-3, but similar to Scherzer, he has a high ERA (4.93) that is deceptive because he has been pitching better lately while getting closer to his proper level. Buchholz is 4-1 with a 2.47 ERA over his last eight starts including allowing exactly one run in each of his last two outings, with the most recent coming vs. the Texas Rangers last Tuesday as he allowed only four hits in seven innings in a 2-1 win that was Boston’s only victory in three games in Arlington.
Granted, Buchholz was bombed for seven runs in four innings in his only start vs. the Tigers in Detroit this year, but he has allowed a grand total of only two earned runs in three career starts vs. Detroit here in Boston covering 22 innings, most recently allowing only four hits over seven scoreless innings last season.
Given that both pitchers are in fine current form and that both are better than their overall ERA, look for the Tigers and Red Sox to stay ‘under’ in Beantown on Monday.
: Tigers, Red Sox ‘under’ 9½ (-104)