Both of these teams have been labeled multiple times this year, but the Tigers seem to have pulled it together of late. Detroit actually momentarily got the AL Central lead back before going on a small losing streak last week. Boston is still trying to get above water. These teams can both be a factor in the playoff race, but they must pull it together and make a run soon.
Detroit made a wise trade last week to pick up Omar Infante and Anibal Sanchez from the Marlins. Infante gives the Tigers a solid second-baseman that they have been missing. Sanchez gives them some much needed starting pitching depth. Prince Fielder was the team’s major offseason acquisition, and he has produced very well. Fielder is hitting .305 and he has 72 RBI’s in 2012. Miguel Cabrera is one of the most consistent hitters in the league, and he is hitting .324 this year. He leads the American League with 83 RBI’s.
Austin Jackson has really been the guy to jump start this offense from the leadoff spot this year. Jackson has an amazing .402 on-base-percentage, which sets the table for the rest of the lineup. Detroit’s pitching staff ranked near the bottom of the majors earlier this year in team ERA, but they have improved to the middle of the pack of late. Max Scherzer is 10-5 with a 4.49 ERA this year. He has been inconsistent this year, but he is a guy the team will need if they are going to get to the playoffs.
Boston pulled out two late-game victories in New York over the last couple days, and that had to give them a little bit of momentum. The Red Sox enter this game at 51-51 on the season. This team has battled its way through tons of offensive injuries, but the pitching staff has really been the problem in 2012. Boston’s starting rotation just isn’t pitching the way they need to pitch if this team is going to the postseason. Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, and Clay Buchholz are all having subpar seasons. Buchholz has been better of late, but his ERA is still 4.93 for the season.
Boston has been able to stay in the playoff hunt because their offense has been crushing the baseball, even without some stars. David Ortiz is out now with a heel injury, but the team is definitely getting healthier by the day. Jacoby Ellsbury, Carl Crawford, and Dustin Pedroia are all back in the lineup. Boston is averaging 4.89 runs per game, which is third in the majors. The team has gotten some solid contributions from guys such as Will Middlebrooks, Mike Aviles, and Cody Ross.
MLB Free Pick: Over 9.5
Both of these offenses are capable of putting up a bunch of runs in a short period of time. The starting pitchers here have been inconsistent this season. Look for a close high-scoring game.