We get our weekend going in Boston tonight, as the Detroit Tigers and Boston Red Sox vie for a win at Fenway Park. The Tigers are coming off a beating against the Angels, a 11-4 final. Whereas the Red Sox were pummeled by the Yankees, 9-1.
David Price got shelled, taking a loss on the road at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees lead the American League East by 3 games after the win a night ago. In the AL Central, the Tigers sit 2 games back of the Minnesota Twins, pending the final score of their matchup against the Mariners on Thursday. As I write this, though, the Twins have a 2-game lead on Detroit.
If anything, the Tigers are good at turning it off and on week-to-week. I believe on offense they have too many weapons for them to get caught in ruts, though. The offense was supposed to be built like a powerhouse, and while they look like it at times, the Tigers are prone to tossing up duds when you least expect it. Nevertheless, the offense isn’t the main problem in Detroit. If they had a halfway decent pitching staff, they’d probably be in control of the division at the moment.
One of the problem spots in the Tigers’ pitching staff is Jordan Zimmermann. He’s failed to be a suitable replacement for Max Scherzer, and has essentially burned $100 million dollars out of the Tigers’ wallet. The usually reliable Michael Fulmer got dinged yesterday against the Angels.
If Fulmer runs into a hole, I don’t foresee the Tigers making any moves this summer. Even if, others in the pitching staff will need to step it up. Daniel Norris was supposed to be the x-factor for them this season, but he’s playing with an ERA that has eclipsed the 4.00 mark. The bullpen is hobbling on one leg as well. It’s not a recipe for success. Zimmermann will see the bump tonight, with Red Sox rookie Brian Johnson taking his third major league start of his career. Get our free Tigers vs. Red Sox pick below.
Detroit Tigers vs. Boston Red Sox Pick
Jordan Zimmermann (5-4, 5.98 ERA) vs. Brian Johnson (2-0, 2.57 ERA)
Zimmermann has been hit around pretty good this season. Let’s just say that in seven of his last starts, he’s allowed 4 or more runs. His best start came in his last outing, where he yielded just 1 run against the White Sox. Other than that, it’s been a disaster for him. Zimmermann owns a 5.98 ERA and 1.56 WHIP. His most trying times have come on the road, with a 7.07 ERA, 1.61 WHIP, and .357 OBA.
Note the last time Zimmermann pitched at Fenway, he was steamrolled by the Red Sox. They got to him for 7 runs and 9 hits in just 2.1 innings. This was in 2015 when he was still a quality pitcher as a National. If he runs into trouble, the bullpen shouldn’t be of much assistance, as they hold a 4.62 ERA for 23rd in the majors.
Johnson was called up from AAA ball in Pawtucket. He’s been in the minors since 2012 and finally getting his opportunity in the spotlight at Fenway. Johnson has done a fine job thus far, posting 2.57 ERA across 14 innings. In Pawtucket he had a 2.72 ERA and 1.34 WHIP in eight starts. Despite his quick start as major league pitcher, guys like this are prone to flaring up and taking their lumps.
Like I said earlier, the Tigers’ offense should be better with their personnel, but they’re still 9th in the majors with regards to runs scored per game. Couple that with their dreadful pitching staff, and they like to play in plenty of high-scoring ball games. The OVER is 5-2 in their last seven matchups. After a slow start for the Red Sox offense, they are now 11th in scoring. This is a high total of 10, but I think the odds makers are on to something. Look for lots of balls to fly over the green monster, with the OVER hitting at Fenway on Friday night.
PICK: OVER 10 (-125)