A crucial series in the American League playoff race continues Tuesday in Boston where the Red Sox entertain the Detroit Tigers.
Game 2 of the series from Fenway Park is set for a 7:10 p.m. (ET) first pitch from Boston's Josh Beckett. The right-hander has struggled much of the campaign, and it won't be easy to start turning things around against Detroit ace Justin Verlander. The Tigers opened in the -130 to -140 range on the MLB odds behind the reigning AL MVP and Cy Young winner.
Tuesday's total is eight and priced a little heavier to the 'over.'
Beckett's name has recently come up among a horde of rumors as Major League Baseball heads towards Tuesday's 3:00 p.m. (ET) non-waiver trade deadline. Beckett (5-9, 4.57) is set to make $17 million this year and another $32 million through the end of his current contract which runs through 2014, and that will be a huge stumbling block to any potential deal, not to mention his 10/5 service rights to veto any trade.
If the Red Sox were going to ship him out, they should have done so before he pitched the club to seven losses in his last eight starts. A lack of run support can be blamed on some of those defeats, but Beckett's 5.01 ERA in that span is primarily culpable. His 2012 season started with a rough outing against the Tigers in Detroit, Beckett failing to make it through the fifth inning while serving up five long balls. The good news is he has allowed just four home runs in the subsequent 16 assignments, including a second loss to the Tigers when they came to Boston in May, the only game Detroit won in that series.
Verlander (11-6, 2.60) appeared to be on his way to a fourth consecutive win his last time out before a couple of 7th-inning homers started to unravel his fine effort. Cleveland eventually plated all of their runs against Verlander in a 5-3 win for the Indians who were getting +150 at the baseball betting window.
This will be the third go-around this season for Sox hitters to face Verlander. He tossed eight shutout frames in Detroit on Opening Day, but closer Jose Valverde coughed up a 2-0 lead in the ninth before the Tigers posted a 3-2 victory as $1.40 favorites. Detroit was priced at -155 behind Verlander at Fenway on May 29 when Boston hung a 6-3 loss on the big right-hander.
The Tigers swept the season-opening series in Motown before the Red Sox won three of four in the May series played in Beantown. Boston saw a 7-game home winning streak against Detroit end in the finale of the May set.
This series opened Monday with the outcome still pending. Boston was a slight 115 favorite with Clay Buchholz on the hill. Detroit was countering with Max Scherzer and oddsmakers leaned 'under' on a 9½-run total.
Boston started the series level at 51-51 and in the AL East cellar, 9.5-games behind the front-running New York Yankees. Detroit (54-48) was second in the AL Central and trailed the Chicago White Sox by 1.5-games.