Tigers at Red Sox – Free Pick July 31st

Detroit Tigers -125 at Boston Red Sox +115 (Total: 8)

Justin Verlander (11-6, 2.60 ERA) vs. Josh Beckett (5-9, 4.57 ERA)

Interestingly, both starters are coming into tonight’s game fresh off poor outings.  Verlander allowed five runs over seven innings in a loss to division rival Cleveland, tying his season-high for runs allowed.  Beckett’s problems, however, seem to stem from much deeper than a single bad outing.  It’s been more like a bad season and a half for the talented righty, and the pressure and trade rumors continue to ramp up in accordance with the petulant star’s fussiness with the local media.

Beckett has given up five homeruns and seventeen hits in just eleven innings in his two previous starts.  That raised his season ERA to 4.57 and his record to a dismal 5-9.  Those stats might be more responsible for the fact that he is a Red Sox than any other; it isn’t easy to find a trade partner willing to take a 32-year old pitcher who often appears to have lost all interest in baseball.  He is just 1-2 with a 6.37 ERA in July, and tonight faces a Detroit lineup that has battered him around the yard in previous appearances.

Detroit’s powerful lineup has fared well against Beckett this season; both Fielder and Miguel Cabrera have taken him deep twice this season already.  You can bet their eyes are lighting up tonight seeing Beckett and the short porch in Fenway tonight.  I expect Detroit to generate some runs, and that on the other side of the diamond, that Justin Verlander will get back to being, well, Justin Verlander.

These teams have split the season series 4-4 so far, and there have been no shortage of runs.  The run total favors Detroit 46-43, with each team tallying six or more runs five times.  It’s been a bit deast or famine; 12-11 games and 2-0 games.  I expect something in between tonight.  I like Verlander t have a solid outing, and am not sold on Beckett, but don’t discount the potential of a pitcher’s duel tonight, so I am staying away from the OVER/UNDER tonight.

Instead, I am going to bet on Justin Verlander bouncing back and holding this Boston lineup, still missing David Ortiz, in check and Detroit getting a nice win.  The Tigers seem to still be not quite clicking on all cylinders, but their troubles pale in comparison to the circus tent that is the 2012 Boston Red Sox.  Give me Verlander and the Tigers to earn the win tonight in Boston.

Free Pick:  Detroit Tigers to WIN -125