Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, October 14, 2013 at 8:00 PM
For the first three and a half games of the two Major League Baseball Championship Series, it looked like fans were in for quite a disappointment. Nobody could score any runs. The road team took a 2-0 lead in the NLCS while the road team was just a few outs away from doing the same in the ALCS. BAM! David Ortiz hits a Grand Slam that will be talked about for ages and there’s finally something to get excited about!
After a day off for travel (and recovery!), the Boston Red Sox and Detroit Tigers resume their series Tuesday Night in The Motor City knotted at one game apiece.
*Detroit has to be happy that they earned a split in Boston. They knew they’d have to win at least once at Fenway to advance to the World Series. They showed they can win a game without either Justin Verlander or Max Scherzer on the mound when they took the opener behind Anibel Sanchez. They are still the favorites to win the series because they’ve at least temporarily taken away home field advantage. And, they’re still positioned to throw Scherzer in Game Six, and Verlander in Game Seven if it goes the distance.
*Boston is thrilled to be back in the series. They were basically a goner if they had dropped the first two at home. They’re still behind the eight-ball to a degree…but they can take command of the series by beating Verlander Tuesday Night. Were that to happen, they’d be up 2-1 in the series, with only Fister and Sanchez up over the next two games.
The media tends to overplay drama about the importance of Game Three in a series. In this case, the hype is warranted. This series will very likely be determined by who wins Tuesday in Motown.
Let’s take a closer look at Game Three’s starting pitchers…
Lackey: 10-13, 3.52 ERA, 1.16 WHIP
Verlander: 13-12, 3.46 ERA, 1.31 WHIP
Very similar numbers this year for Lackey and Verlander. Boston was delighted with Lackey, and recognized that he was pitching in bad luck to suffer a losing record with those stats. He deserved something closer to 14-9 with that WHIP in front of a great offense. Verlander had an odd year by his standards. He was only occasionally the dominant Cy Young-type force sports bettors had grown used to seeing. People were wondering if he had lost something, or if he was just pacing himself for the games that mattered most.
In the 2013 Playoffs
Lackey: 5.1 IP, 4 ER, 6K’s, 10 baserunners allowed vs. Tampa Bay
Verlander: 15 IP, 0 ER, 21K’s, 8 baserunners allowed vs. Oakland
Question answered for Verlander! He once again became unhittable in the Divisional Round against Oakland. It’s true that he got to throw twice in a great pitcher’s park. But, still…21 K’s in 15 innings is huge when you know how strikeout prone Boston’s offense is.
Lackey was a disappointment against the Rays. He needs to lift his game significantly to match Verlander Tuesday…unless Verlander has run out of gas from throwing so many high intensity innings.
Current Line: Detroit -145, total of 7.5
The numbers say one thing (Detroit!). But, the nuances of baseball playoff handicapping require you to ponder the possibilities that:
*Verlander is about to have an off-night
*The Tigers are still reeling from blowing a big lead Sunday Night
*Lackey is capable of throwing ace-caliber games
How you feel about Verlander’s best expectation will likely determine both your side and total plays here. JIM HURLEY loves midweek betting in October because what you win on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday gets magnified dramatically with weekend football. Check out what NETWORK has in this game plus Louisiana Lafayette-Western Kentucky in college football. Then link up with us for DAILY BEST BETS all week that you can purchase right here at the website with your credit card.
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Back with you Wednesday to see what’s going on in the NLCS featuring the St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Dodgers. It’s back to big game previews Thursday through the weekend…with Florida State/Clemson looking very large in the Saturday colleges.
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