The Boston Red Sox will prevail in game two of its American League Championship Series on Sunday at home versus the Detroit Tigers. This game features two pitchers who are not accustomed to losing. Combined, Tigers’ starter Max Scherzer and Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz went 33-3 this season.
So who will break?
A few factors will control the destiny of this contest.
The first is Buchholz general success against the Tigers’ hitters. In 139 plate appearances their hitters have registered a below-par .231 batting average. They only mustered two home runs in that sampling.
More broadly, Buccholz has been so very sharp since coming back from injury in September. He posted a 3-1 record and a 1.88 ERA during his final regular season starts. He also delivered a quality start (six innings or more pitched; three runs or less allowed) in his only post-season start against the Tampa Bay Rays.
Scherzer has put up a Cy Young Award quality season. Beyond his win total, he averaged more strikeouts than innings pitched and kept his walk total down. That said he wasn’t quite as sharp as Buchholz down the regular season stretch.
He posted a 3.00 ERA in his final four starts of the season. He absolutely delivered in his one post-season start (seven innings pitched; two runs allowed; 11 strikeouts), but he was pressed into relief duty later in the Tigers’ series versus the Oakland A’s. While he’ll pitch on regular rest for this game, it’s very possible that relieving has upset his routine – a regular routine is so important for starting pitchers – and will hurt him in this contest.
A final point of note, Scherzer has a very poor track record against Boston. In eight career starts, he’s 2-4 with a 7.02 ERA. In contrast, Buchholz has been more solid versus his opponent. He’s 2-1 with a 3.58 ERA in eight lifetime appearances against the Tigers.
Pick the Red Sox to win at 1.83.
Back the Boston Red Sox at 1.83
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