Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#3969 Boston Red Sox vs.
#3970 Detroit Tigers
Wednesday, August 4, 2021 at 7:10pm EDT
Written by Eric P.

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The Detroit Tigers host the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday night in the second game of their three-game series from Comerica Park in Detroit. The Red Sox enter looking to move back towards the top of the AL East after dropping their fifth game in a row in Detroit's 4-2 win in the series opener on Monday. Boston got out to an early start but the Tigers came on strong in the second half of the game to take the lead and allow the bullpen to hold on and secure the victory. The Tigers are probably too far behind to get themselves back in playoff contention, but with Boston right in the thick of things, they can surely feel the pressure mounting as they look to end their slide.

Boston's Struggles Continue

The Red Sox, who just a few weeks ago looked like they were on their way to the best record in the American League, have faltered of late. Having lost five in a row and going 3-7 in their last ten games, the Red Sox know that they can't afford to drop another game against the Tigers, and the series, if they want to stay with the Rays and hold off the Yankees. The lack of deals at the trade deadline is a concern, as is the number of injuries slowly creeping up on the team. Matt Barnes has been added to the COVID-19 list, which is a massive blow to the bullpen, while Kyle Schwarber one of the players they did bring in last week, remains out with a hamstring injury. Add that to Chris Sale's return taking longer than expected and the Red Sox need to find a way to navigate some of these issues.

Boston's offense remains one of the deepest in baseball and has to do better than scoring just two runs on Wednesday night. The Red Sox rank fifth in baseball in runs per game, fourth in batting average, and third in hits per game. The power numbers have fallen off slightly, but they still rank 12th in home runs per game. Part of the struggles of lat have stemmed from J.D. Martinez only hitting .080 over the last week, and the lack of power, only hitting three home runs as a team over that same time frame. Rafael Devers has continued his hot hitting with a .467 average, while Kiki Hernandez is hitting .391 in support. The key for Boston is to continue to have a complete day from their batting order like they've had for much of the year, as opposed to one of two different key figures stepping up from night to night.

According to MLB.com, Boston will send Eduardo Rodriguez out onto the mound to try to even up the series. With his record at 7-6, his ERA has been a concern this year, sitting at 5.60, and he's struggled to find the form that saw him garner Cy Young votes in 2019. The biggest issue plaguing Rodriguez has been his consistency, as just when he seems to be getting over the hump, he slumps back into this struggling way. The last start was one of the worst of the season for the lefty, allowing seven hits and six runs in only 3.1 innings of action against the Blue Jays. Having not faced Detroit yet will be an advantage for him though, which comes at the perfect time.

Tigers Eye Series Win

While somehow finding their way into a playoff berth seems completely out of the realm of possibility, a series win against the Red Sox could at least start the Tigers down the right path. Sitting 12 games behind the White Sox in the AL Central, it would take one of the better two-month runs in baseball history for Detroit to find their way into a Wild Card spot. Detroit has won two in a row though and is 5-5 in their last ten games, with the wins coming at just the right time. The injuries continue to be a concern though, with Niko Goodrum out with a calf injury and a handful of pitchers testing the teams' depth for the front and back ends of the bullpen.

Detroit's best chance at winning is using the same game plan as Tuesday night and making it a low-scoring game. If it gets into a shootout, Detroit is going to struggle to have enough in the tank to find the win. The Tigers only rank 15th in runs per game, 16th in both batting average and hits per game, and then 21st in home runs per game. Over the last week, Jeimer Candelario has led the way with a .417 average, but with multiple other starting position players hitting under .200, the offense isn't built to have to outscore their opposition, especially a team like Boston. Miguel Cabrera and Eric Haase each have two home runs over the last week and will need to keep up the power to keep Detroit in most games.

According to MLB.com, one of the top prospects over the last few years, Casey Mize, will get the start as he looks to secure the series win. Mize has a 6-5 record but his 3.41 ERA is impressive given his lack of experience and was strong in his only start against Boston on the season. Back in May, he went six innings in a no-decision result, allowing only three hits and a single run. He also has been strong this month and might be the perfect pitcher to keep Detroit's gameplan of low-scoring affairs with Boston going.

Best Bets for this Game

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Boston has been struggling as of late but Wednesday is a perfect opportunity for the Red Sox to turn things around with one of their most experienced pitchers on the mound. Rodriguez hasn't been as elite this year as in 2019 but still has been around the block enough times to know how to navigate a game like Tuesday's and secure the win. The chances of Mize slowing down Boston, who is itching to get back onto the field and better their two-run performance from Tuesday, also seems unlikely. Boston has one of the best offenses in baseball and the Tigers don't have the offense to match if the Boston starts piling on the runs, which seems like a good chance at happening, especially given how well some of Boston's biggest bats are playing of late.

Prediction: Boston (-160)

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Wednesday's game represents two of the best pitchers that the two teams have to offer to head out there. While Rodriguez's record isn't there, he still knows how to navigate a lineup like Detroit's, while Mize's 3.41 ERA tells fans everything they need to know about his ability to direct traffic. Detroit's game plan is a slow game and that showed with the under hitting in the opener on Tuesday night. Additionally, according to covers.com, for Boston, the under is 4-0 in their last four games against a right-handed starter. For Detroit, the under is 4-0 in their last four games overall, is 4-0 in their last four games on grass, is 7-0 in their last seven games against AL East opponents, and is 4-0 in their last four home games.

Prediction: Under 9
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Written By Eric Ploch , "Eric P."

Eric grew up surrounded by sports, whether it was spending the weekend catching games in person or on tv, or heading out to the fields to play whatever sport was in season. What started as a hobby, soon became a passion, as he became the sports editor of his high school newspaper, then wrote for his university newspaper during his undergrad years.  After obtaining a degree in Sports Operations and Promotions, and spending 8 years deeply immersed in the sports world, Eric decided to take his love for analytics and predictions, and his experience, to online sports fans everywhere. We are glad to have Eric on OUR Team.