Red Sox v Tigers
Boston should get the better of the Detroit Tigers on Thursday at Fenway Park. The motivating force on this pick is Boston starter Josh Beckett’s ego. Since being embroiled in scandal last season for drinking beer and eating fried chicken in the clubhouse during games, he’s been under the media microscope. So much so, that even though he’s thrown quality starts (six-plus innings pitched; three or fewer earned runs allowed) in seven of his nine outings in 2012, he’s still being questioned. With this in mind, Beckett will be motivated to beat one of the two teams that roughed him up so far this year. On opening day, the Tigers scored seven runs on seven hits in 4 2/3 innings pitched. Detroit’s Max Scherzer, who started the season dismally, appears to have turned matters around in his past two outings (he struck out 24 in 12 1/3 innings pitched), but the Red Sox should slow him down. In Scherzer’s career, he’s 0-2 with an 11.81 ERA in four starts against Boston. Take Beckett and Red Sox at 1.67 and pass on the rejuvenated Scherzer and the Tigers at 2.20.
Dodgers v Brewers
Milwaukee’s Zack Greinke doesn’t like to throw away from home. That fact should be a difference-maker when the Brewers turn up to face Los Angeles at Dodger Stadium. Greinke’s win-loss splits for home and away are startling. He’s 50-28 at home and 31-47 on the road lifetime. Clearly, he doesn’t like foreign terrain and Dodger Stadium will be the ultimate in off-putting – it’s Greinke’s first time pitching there. I’m not a fan of the Dodgers’ starter Chad Billingsley, but I am a big booster of LA’s bullpen, which has given up the second-fewest runs per game of any relief pitching corps in the National League. If Greinke falters, Billingsley should be able to keep it close enough for the bullpen to do the rest. Climb on the fruitful Dodgers bandwagon at 2.00 on this one and pass on the Brewers at 1.81.