The Tampa Bay Rays return home on Thursday as they host the Detroit Tigers in the opener of a four-game series following a disappointing nine-game road trip that saw them go 3-6. The Rays (40-35) were just swept by the Kansas City Royals in a three-game series, and they have dropped eight of the last 10 meetings with the Tigers (36-39).
Tampa Bay starting pitcher James Shields (7-4, 3.99 ERA) will try to help his team bounce back while looking to earn just his second win since May 13 when he toes the rubber against Detroit. He is 2-2 in seven home starts with a 3.72 ERA but has appeared there just once this month. In that game against the Miami Marlins on June 16, he did not allow an earned run in 7.2 innings but saw his team go on to lose 4-3 in 15 innings.
Shields is coming off a no-decision on the road against the Philadelphia Phillies last Saturday, as he gave up five runs and seven hits in five innings of a 7-6 loss. He has surrendered exactly five runs in three of his past five outings, and the Rays are 1-4 during that stretch. The UNDER is 3-1 in his past four.
The Tigers continue a 10-game road trip in Tampa and have dropped four of their first six. They just dropped two of three against the Texas Rangers and will send Max Scherzer (6-5, 5.12) to the mound off a road loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates last time out on Saturday. He allowed three runs and three hits in six innings with one walk and seven strikeouts to fall to 4-3 away from home with a 5.01 ERA. He has given up exactly three runs in each of his last four road starts, all of which have lasted six innings or less.
Scherzer is 1-1 in his last three starts overall for Detroit with a 2.70 ERA, and all of them went UNDER the total with him throwing 100 or more pitches each time. He was 4-1 in his previous six outings before that with the OVER going 5-1, and his pitch count stayed under 100 three times.
Both teams are looking to make up some ground in their respective divisions. The Tigers are four games back of the Chicago White Sox in the American League Central while the Rays trail the New York Yankees by 6.5 games in the AL East. The White Sox visit the Yankees in the first of four games on Thursday as well.
Free MLB Pick: Tampa Bay Rays -128