We took a loss with last night’s MLB pick featuring the Tigers and Red Sox from Boston.
The Tigers jumped out to an early 1-0 in the second innings and held that lead until the dreaded fourth inning. A trio of RBI doubles plated four runs for the home side, and that is all the offense they would need in an eventual 7-1 win.
With the win, the Red Sox improved to an MLB-best 43-19 on the season and are one game clear of the Yankees for first place in the AL East.
With the loss, Detroit fell to 29-34, although they still remain in second place in a very weak AL Central division, 4.5 games shy of first place Cleveland.
Despite the loss, we have another lefty vs. lefty matchup tonight in Boston between these two clubs and I am going to let the numbers speak for themselves again tonight.
Detroit Tigers vs. Boston Red Sox
Matt Boyd (3.23 ERA, 3.85 FIP, 1.08 WHIP) vs. Jalen Beeks (Triple-A: 2.56 ERA, 2.98 FIP, 0.98 WHIP)
The Tigers look to salvage a win in tonight’s series finale as they send Matt Boyd to the mound who has been everything the Tigers could have hoped for through 11 starts this season.
Boyd enters play tonight with that nice 3.23 ERA on the season while he’s also been very consistent. Boyd has not yielded more than four runs in a start this season and has yielded four runs in just three of 11 starts. He’s allowed two runs or less in seven of those 11 starts, including in three of his last four.
Boyd’s 3.73 FIP on the road is actually slightly better than his 3.94 mark at Comerica Park in Detroit while he’s allowed just four runs over his last two road starts combined, although he left his most recent road outing early with an injury. He tied a season-high with seven innings pitched in his most recent start and has completed at least six innings in eight of his 11 starts on the year.
Boyd has also kept the ball in the yard this season as he sports just a 0.70 HR/9 on the year and has allowed zero homers to lefties and should see four of those tonight.
As mentioned in yesterday’s piece, the Red Sox are not a good offense against left-handed pitching. Yes, they got to lefty Blaine Hardy for five runs on eight hits yesterday. However, Hardy cruised through the first three innings with a four-run fourth accounting for almost all of the damage against him. Even with that output, the Red Sox still rank 26th with a team .688 OPS against left-handed pitching this season. When we compare that to their league-leading .835 mark against righties, we have a very significant gap there.
Toeing the rubber for the home side tonight will be rookie left-hander Jalen Beeks who will actually make his MLB debut against the Tigers.
As evidenced by the figures above, Beeks has been real good at the Triple-A level this season. However, this is the big leagues and the Tigers mash left-handed pitching. Detroit’s .780 OPS against righties is the seventh-best mark in the majors while their .276 average versus southpaws is tied with the Houston Astros for top spot in the bigs. The Tigers also own a strikeout rate of just 20.1% against lefties. Although they rank 29th with just 43 walks against lefties, the Red Sox rank 30th with 38.
Of course, going up against someone you have never seen on the road is a tough assignment for these Tigers hitters. However, this is a very pesky offense that is clearly much better against left-handed pitching than they are against righties.
Winning a road game against the best team in baseball is tough. However, without Mookie Betts and Dustin Pedroia available, the Red Sox lineup is a little depleted. If you want to roll the dice on an underdog, take a good look at the lefty-mashing Tigers tonight against a pitcher making his MLB debut.