The Boston Red Sox will look to earn a split of their four-game series with the Detroit Tigers with a win on Thursday night. At home, the Red Sox are heavy -190 favorites to get the win.
The Tigers enter Thursday’s game one game over .500, which is a little surprising. It’s still early in the season, but Detroit has held its own. Including a doubleheader sweep of Boston on Tuesday, the Tigers have won four of their last six, helping to keep them competitive in the AL Central early in the year.
Meanwhile, the reigning World Series champs have yet to find their footing in 2019. Boston’s 10-15 record is easily the biggest surprise of the season thus far. Despite sweeping the first-place Rays last weekend, the Red Sox have lost two of three to Detroit in this series, keeping them six games back in the AL East and barely ahead of the Orioles for last place.
It’s hard to believe that Thursday’s starter Rick Porcello was a Cy Young winner in 2016. The longtime Red Sox pitcher who spent his first six seasons with the Tigers has fallen apart in 2019, going 0-3 with an ERA of 8.47 over his first four starts. He’s managed to pitch just 17 innings in those four starts, giving up a .378 average to opposing hitters and posting a WHIP of 2.41. Things got a little better in his last time out, giving up just two runs over 5.2 innings, but he still has a lot to prove after such a poor start.
The good news is that Detroit’s lineup isn’t particularly scary. However, Porcello hasn’t seen many of the young Tigers hitters. He’s also had a tough time with Tigers shortstop Gordon Beckham, who is 15 for 32 with seven extra-base hits in his career against Porcello. The likes of Miguel Cabrera and Jeimer Candelario are also starting to heat up a little, helping the Tigers score 15 runs over the first three games of the series.
Not Much Better
The Tigers will send Jordan Zimmermann to the mound on Thursday. He hasn’t been much better than Porcello this season. In his first five starts of the season, Zimmermann is 0-3 with a 4.94 ERA. He was outstanding in his first two starts of the season. However, Zimmermann has allowed five runs in each of his last three starts, getting knocked out in the 5th inning or earlier in two of those starts.
Zimmermann has also struggled in his limited appearances against the Red Sox. Boston’s roster is currently 25 for 71 (.352) in their careers against Zimmermann. The Red Sox are also showing some signs of coming out of their offensive funk, scoring 11 runs in Wednesday’s win over Detroit.
Against the Grain
The Red Sox are undoubtedly the better team. They also have a little momentum after Wednesday’s win. But they’ve shown no consistency this season. There’s also little upside in picking them with a -190 money line. Since it’s hard to trust Porcello at this point, bet on the Tigers as underdogs to beat the Red Sox on Thursday.