Thursday MLB Odds, Preview, Prediction for Red Sox vs. Tigers: Expect Fast Start From Offenses in AL Clash (August 5)
Winslow Townson/Getty Images. Pictured: Boston Red Sox standout Xander Bogaerts.
- The Boston Red Sox square off against the Detroit Tigers in Thursday's MLB action.
- Boston is in need of a victory with New York and Toronto breathing down its neck in the AL East race.
- Anthony Dabbundo breaks down the matchup below and explains why he's expecting the offenses to shine.
Red Sox vs. Tigers Odds
|Red Sox Odds||-135|
|Time||1:10 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Thursday morning via DraftKings.|
Boston and Detroit have split the first two games of their three-game series in Detroit, with the Tigers winning Tuesday’s opener and the Red Sox taking the next meeting in a great Eduardo Rodriguez start on Wednesday.
Boston ended a five-game losing streak with that victory and needs another win in this latest affair to keep its distance from the chasing pack of Toronto and New York in the AL East.
The Red Sox have four games in Toronto this weekend, meaning a loss Thursday could see them just five games ahead of their upcoming foes.
Both starting pitchers in this game are amongst the league’s lowest in xERA and FIP, so there should be plenty of offense in the game overall. Bottom line, both pitchers are fortunate to not have allowed even more runs than they have this season.
Boston Hitters Continue Stellar Form at Plate
Boston’s offense is one of the best in the league, because despite a relatively high strikeout rate, it makes solid contact.
The Red Sox have run a bit hot with a very high BABIP and batting with runners in scoring position, but they’re also able to punish pitchers who allow hard contact like Detroit starter Tarik Skubal.
Boston is among the top-five offenses away from home as well, so it’s not overly reliant on a disproportionate amount of offense in its home park. The club matches up relatively well with Skubal, who hasn’t been able to keep the ball in the park, allowing 2.14 HR/9.
Lefty starter Martin Pérez has a 4.56 ERA, but his xERA is 5.53 and FIP is 4.81. He doesn’t give out many walks, but his hard-hit rate allowed has climbed 12% this year and other peripherals are not very encouraging.
He’s allowed a .354 wOBA and most of the reason his xERA is higher is because he’s stranding runners at an unusually high rate. That’s typical a future predictor of trouble for a starting pitcher.
Detroit Starter Skubal Could Face Trouble
Like Pérez, Skubal’s xERA is a full run higher than his actual ERA because he’s been lucky with runners on base. His 5.28 FIP and 5.82 xERA rank him among the league’s worst regular starters.
Skubal has allowed too many home runs to be successful, but has been fortunate to not allow more hits with runners on. Now, Skubal is facing one of the baseball’s best hitting teams with runners aboard.
Boston will punish Skubal for allowing hard contact and should jump on him early. His 20% HR-to-fly ball ratio will probably regress positively, but not if he continues to rank in the bottom 12 percentile in hard contact allowed and bottom 10 in average exit velocity allowed.
The Tigers do have a high strikeout rate against lefties, but that’s not really how Perez gets outs anyway. Their offense should put a lot of balls in play and whether or not they score runs comes down to their performance with runners in scoring position.
Red Sox-Tigers Pick
The first two games of this series have been lower scoring, but not because the offenses weren’t able to get runners on.
The hits just haven’t been coming with guys in scoring position, but both of these pitchers will have their luck run out in clutch pitching situations eventually, with this game being a good place to start.
Skubal and Pérez rank in the top 50 in negative difference between xERA and ERA, so they’ve both been worse than their top lines suggest.
Expect early runs against both starting pitchers for the first time in this series. Anything over 5.5 in the first five innings at -110 or better is worth a play.
Pick: First Five Innings Over 5.5 (+100)