Boston Red Sox (20-13) PK, o/u 9 at Detroit Tigers (14-18), 7:05 pm Eastern Monday, ESPN
by Zman of Predictem.com
The reigning World Series champion Boston Red Sox look to extend a three-game winning streak when they kick off a four-game series in Detroit with the Tigers Monday night at Comerica Park.
Online Sportsbooks list this game at right around a pick ’em, with an over/under of 9.
Boston is coming off a three-game sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays in Beantown over the weekend in which they outscored their opponents 26-10. So the Sox, who have won five of their last six games, now lead the AL East by three games over Tampa, the Baltimore Orioles and the New York Yankees.
Detroit, meanwhile, just got swept three games in Minnesota, capped off by a 7-6 loss Sunday, a game the Tigers led 6-0 in the first inning! The Twins outscored the Kitties 22-8 in the sweep, and sent them to the bottom of the AL Central. But Detroit is only three games behind first-place Minnesota.
About a month ago, Boston took two of three games from the Tigers at Fenway Park. But last year, Detroit took the season series from the Red Sox four games to three. Also, over the course of those last 10 games in this series, the o/u has gone 4-6, and the games have averaged a surprisingly low 8.5 total runs per.
Boston posted the best road record in the majors last year at 45-36, but is only 6-8 away from home so far this year. The Sox are also only 13-20 vs. the run line this season.
On the other side of this match-up, the Tigers, after going 45-36 at home last year, are only 6-8 at Comerica this season. Also, Detroit is 15-17 vs. the run line this year.
Monday’s series opener features a pretty good pitching duel, with Daisuke Matsuzaka (4-0, 2.52, 1.09 WHIP this season) slated to go for Boston vs. Jeremy Bonderman (2-2, 3.86, 1.60) for the Tiggers. The Red Sox are a perfect 6-0 this season when Matsuzaka starts, the o/u 3-3, while Detroit is 4-2 in Bonderman’s starts, the o/u 1-4-1.
Over his last three starts, which includes a 2-1 win over Toronto last Wednesday, Matsuzaka has allowed seven ER and 22 baserunners over 17 1/3 IP. On the season, the Japanese import owns a 32/19 strikeout-to-walk ratio.
Matsuzaka started twice vs. the Tigers last year, and once already this season, giving up seven ER and 25 baserunners in 20 2/3 innings. Boston won two of those three games, and the totals went 1-2.
Bonderman, meanwhile, in his last three starts, has been wild, but fairly effective. Over those last three outings, including a 6-2 win over the Yankees in New York last Wednesday, Bonderman has allowed six ER on 27 baserunners which includes 15 walks in 17 1/3 IP. And on the season, Bonderman owns an 18/23 K/BB ratio, which, if you’ll notice, is upside down compared to what it should be.
But Bonderman has had a bit of success against the Red Sox recently; in his one start vs. Boston last year and one already this season, Bonderman has limited the Sox to three ER on 19 baserunners in 13 innings of work. And Detroit won both those games.
On the offensive side of things, Boston ranks 4th in the majors in team OBP at .362, 7th in team slugging at .430, and is averaging 4.9 runs per game.
The Tigers, meanwhile, rank 7th in OBP at .348, 6th in slugging at .435, and are also averaging 4.9 RPG.
On the injury front, Sox slugger David Ortiz missed Sunday’s game with a sore knee, but he’s listed as probable for Monday.
The Boston bullpen has pitched 11 2/3 innings over the last five games, allowing three ER on 15 baserunners. And Red Sox pitching has given up just 19 runs over its last nine games. On the other side, the Detroit pen has pitched just nine innings over its last five games, but has given up nine ER on 21 baserunners.
The o/u is 16-16 in Boston games this season, which are averaging 9.2 total runs per, while the totals are 15-15 in Tigers games, which are averaging 10.3 runs. Also, games played at Comerica Park this year are averaging 11.2 total runs, 2nd-most among all ML ballparks. Last year, Comerica Park games averaged 10.3 runs, 5th-most among all ballparks.
Zman’s Pick: I figure tonight’s game to be low scoring. Take the UNDER 9 runs. Good luck!