A long-awaited milestone will be reached when the Detroit Tigers dispatch of the Chicago White Sox at home on Friday.
Max Scherzer earned his 19th win on August 24 and the assumption was it wouldn’t take long for him to notch number 20. But nearly a month has gone by and he’s still sitting on 19. That should change in this contest.
The White Sox hit Scherzer well on September 9 (the pitcher gave up four earned runs in four innings), but there are two reason why the result will be different here. The first is that the Tigers’ pitcher is coming off a strong, confidence-building start. On September 15, he gave up one run and struck out 12 in seven innings against the Kansas City Royals. The second is that this will be Scherzer’s first home start against the White Sox (he’s previously just faced them in Chicago).
At home, the Tigers have a robust .623 winning percentage. Take the Tigers to win at 1.30.
Look for a low-scoring result when the Cincinnati Reds visit the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The starting pitching in this game is excellent. Francisco Liriano gets the ball for the Pirates. His overall numbers are strong (16-7, 2.92), but have him throw at PNC Park and he’s even more fantastic (8-1, 1.37 ERA).
He’s also on a hot streak. In his past two starts, he’s 1-0 with a 2.25 ERA.
The Reds’ Mat Latos is also experiencing a stellar season (14-6, 3.14 ERA). But what stands out here is how he’s mastered Pirates hitters.
In 208 lifetime plate appearances against Latos, Pittsburgh batters have registered an anemic .186 batting average.
Looking beyond the starting pitching, these clubs have two of the best bullpens in the National League. The Pirates rank second and the Reds third (out of 15 teams) in terms of fewest runs allowed by a relief corps.
The upshot: the combined pitching acuity should get the better of the hitters here. Take under 6.5 runs at 1.97.
Back under 6.5 runs between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Cincinnati Reds
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