Rick Porcello and Michael Fulmer will put their spectacular records on the line tonight at Comerica Park in downtown Detroit. Both are having banner seasons, with Porcello being the veteran who is a former Tiger, and Fulmer a rookie who has turned heads in only his first year at this level. Fulmer hasn’t looked nervous or rattled at all as a rookie on the big stage. In fact, he’s looked like the best pitcher in the American League in 2016. His services have helped the Tigers troubled rotation tremendously. You wonder where the Tigers would be if they didn’t catch lightning in a bottle with Fulmer.
I suspect they would be fighting to stay above .500. After the Jordan Zimmermann injury, Fulmer answered the call to play a big role for the Tigers. He and Justin Verlander have combined to make an argument for the Tigers in the American League Central. But is the ship sailing on Detroit?
They haven’t been at their best lately, while the Indians are continuing to flourish. Cleveland has jumped out to a 6 game lead, making the argument for the Tigers getting more difficult. The Tigers needed to turn yesterday into a success and they managed to do that against the Red Sox, defeating them by a score of 4-3. They need to do a lot more of that, to make up for their recent failures. Detroit has gone 3-8 in their last eleven games, pushing them further back of winning the AL Central. Boston is a team the Tigers are competing with for the Wild Card round, so at this point it’s looking easier for them to chase the postseason that way.
They are currently 3.5 games back there, so yeah, this 3-8 run has done a number on them. The Tigers have had great success against the Red Sox lately, as they’ve won four in a row against them. They’ll need to make it a fifth to keep pace with the Red Sox in the American League Central. Things are heating up across all of baseball, and we have two postseason hopefuls at Comerica Park on Friday.
Boston Red Sox vs. Detroit Tigers
Rick Porcello (16-3, 3.30 ERA) vs. Michael Fulmer (10-3, 2.25 ERA)
The Tigers’ offense is a tough one to figure out. They have the personnel to be the best offense in all of baseball, and they show it at times, but they go through these ruts that last for far too long. The offense has failed to get it into gear for the last couple of weeks. There will be one guy that steps it up and the rest of the offense sputters. Rinse and repeat. While going 3-8, the Tigers scored less than 3 runs seven times. That isn’t an offense with Miguel Cabrera, Justin Upton, Victor Martinez, and J.D. Martinez, oh but it is. There are no knocks on Fulmer though, as he continues to perform at a high level. Fulmer leads the American League with an ERA of 2.25, with a solid 10-3 record. Could Fulmer really capture the Cy Young in only his first season? It might come to fruition if he keeps this pace up.
Fulmer has confused some of the best offenses in baseball, including the Red Sox in his lone appearance against them, allowing 3 runs over 7.2 innings. A lot of people were expecting him to sputter out, but he’s just been looking better. In his last three outings, Fulmer posted a 1.19 ERA and 0.71 WHIP. At home he’s been flawless, with a 1.41 ERA and 0.84 WHIP. Porcello has been on point himself, posting a 2.35 ERA and 0.70 WHIP in his past three starts. This is only Porcello’s second start against his old team, where he lit them up for a 1.29 ERA and 0.71. Back in Detroit, I think Porcello will have some extra motivation. I was expecting a total of 8 or 7.5, so I’ll gladly take the 8.5 on the UNDER.
PICK: UNDER 8.5 RUNS (-110)