We start the second week of the MLB season with a wraparound series already (Fri. thru Mon.), with Boston and Detroit completing series and we have an outstanding pitching matchup in this matinee.
It will be Chris Sale versus Justin Verlander and both hurlers have been at the top of their game for some time. Detroit has a 2-1 edge in the series and tries to take it before facing Minnesota tomorrow. (3-3 record, -0.95 units)
With David Price not quite the pitcher he used to be, Boston management needed a true ace and brought in Chris Sale. The big lefthander was everything Red Sox Nation could hope for in his first start with seven shutout innings, seven strikeouts and allowing just one hit. Sale has purposely backed off the fastball throttle to go deeper in games , but still the ability to hit the high 90’s when needed and has exceptional secondary pitches as well. As one of the Top 5 starters in baseball Sale will be frequently used by bettors for MLB picks with Boston. Sale is 8-7 with a 3.05 ERA against the Tigers.
There were others besides fiancé Kate Upton who thought Justin Verlander (1-0, 2.84) should have won the Cy Young last year, in what was a remarkable comeback campaign. Verlander is now 34 and has made the transition from thrower to pitcher and has even more movement on his fastball and figured out how to increase velocity, which has led to a great deal more swings and misses, like in his win over the White Sox where he fanned 10 in 6 and 1/3 innings. Verlander is 5-6 with a 2.82 ERA versus the BoSox.
Both Offenses Have High Expectations
Boston has rebuilt its roster and feels they now have the pitching and daily lineup to win the American League. Though shortstop Xander Bogaerts is on the bereavement list, The Red Sox still have Dustin Pedroia, Mookie Betts, Jackie Bradley Jr. and others who can impact this game and others all season long.