A light slate of baseball games on the last day of May will see a couple of American League teams meeting who have been heading in opposite directions lately. The Boston Red Sox (26-24) have won three straight games and are within 2.5 games of the lead in the AL East while the Detroit Tigers (23-27) have dropped three in a row to fall 5.5 games behind the division-leading Chicago White Sox in the AL Central.
Boston has been responsible for handing Detroit two of those losses in the first two games of this three-game set at Fenway Park, outscoring the Tigers by a 13-7 margin. The Red Sox had been swept in four games earlier this season at Comerica Park. They would love to return the favor and complete a sweep themselves at Fenway on Thursday with the good version of Josh Beckett (4-4, 4.15 ERA) on the mound.
The bad version of Beckett surrendered a season-high seven runs and seven hits in just 2.1 innings of an 8-3 loss to the Cleveland Indians on May 10. But he has been outstanding in his last three outings since losing back-to-back starts, allowing just three runs in 21.2 innings with just four walks and 19 strikeouts. Beckett has not given up a home run in those three starts either after giving three in his previous two combined. He served up five homers in a 10-0 loss to Detroit on April 7 and has gone 3-3 lifetime against the Tigers with a 3.65 ERA.
The bad news for the Boston is that the team has only swept a three-game series once this year, and that came more than a month ago on the road against the Minnesota Twins. The good news is the Red Sox get to face Detroit starter Max Scherzer (4-3, 5.67), who they have absolutely pounded during his career. Scherzer is 0-2 in four starts vs. Boston with an 11.81 ERA, and the Red Sox have hit .417 against him previously.
Detroit has won Scherzer’s last four starts, but not necessarily because he has pitched well. The Tigers have averaged 7.5 runs in those four games and been able to overcome him giving up the long ball, as opponents have clubbed six dingers over that stretch. Scherzer has struck out 24 batters in his past two outings, but he has just eight strikeouts against the Red Sox in 16 innings.
Look for Scherzer’s struggles to continue and back the BoSox as a home favorite with Beckett on the mound.
Free Baseball Pick: Boston Red Sox -150