The Red Sox just about snuck out of Toronto with two wins from their three-game series. Now they turn their attentions to their visit to Detroit, in their final series before the All-Star break.
7/7 David Price vs. TBD 1:10 pm NESN
In order to try and make a positive out of what happened with Rick Porcello in London; at least he is well-rested. Porcello allowed six runs in the first innings on Saturday and did not make it out of the first inning. However, he only threw 33 pitches, so will come into this game in a slightly different situation to what the Red Sox will have expected. However, in his career he has been better in the second half of the season, starting with July. In June he has a career 5.06 ERA, but in July that drops by over a run to 3.97 in July. Let’s hope that trend continues in this series.
Jordan Zimmermann’s season has been a weird one. In his first two starts of the season, he allowed just two earned runs in 13 2/3 innings, with the Tigers picking up wins in both. Since then he has allowed 26 earned runs in 31 2/3 innings, and the Tigers have not won a single one of those games.
Gregory Soto has not had a great season, with an 8.83 ERA. He has allowed less than three earned runs in just two of his six outings this season. That comes despite having never gone more than four innings in any single outing. The Tigers have won just two games that Soto has featured in, but he has only figured in the result twice, taking two losses in his first two appearances.
The Red Sox offense has been slowly heating up in the last month. Over the last 28 days, they are hitting .294 with a .502 slugging percentage and a .857 OPS. In the last 14 days that rises to .315/.538/.905, and in the last seven days it has risen to .332/.596/.971. Now they can look to finish the first half on a high.
Detroit has really struggled at home this season, with a league-worst 68 wRC+, 3rd worst .229 batting average and .130 ISO, as well as a 4th worst 25.2 K%. They have hit just a paltry 26 home runs this season, and scored just 134 runs in Detroit. Both of those numbers are the worst in the league, below even the Marlins and Giants.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
Pitching: This combination is likely to be the three that make up the middle of any playoff series if the Red Sox get to that point. If they are going to have any chance in a playoff series they need to dominate teams like the Tigers.
Hitting: Since the 14th of June the Red Sox have scored five or more runs in a game in 10 of their 14 games. The problem has been that they have only won six of those 10 games. This offense needs to continue to hit through their pitching woes, and this series offers the perfect opportunity to pile up the runs again.
The Red Sox won two games in their last series and gained precisely zero ground on the Yankees, who also took two of their three games. The Red Sox need to be perfect against these bottom-dwelling teams if they are to stay in touch with the Yankees. Ultimately, any shot they have at the division will come down to beating the Yankees in future series. However, winning these series convincingly will help take the pressure off those series.
The first two games should be games where the Red Sox hitters can cash in big-time against pitchers who are not having a great time of it. If they go into Sunday’s game having won the first two they will have their best pitcher of the three on the mound to close out the series. Win all three of these and things will look a lot rosier with the Red Sox potentially inside double-digit games behind the Yankees.