It may be in poor taste to come back and play another regular season game after the buildup of one final play a week or so ago. That play on Henry Owens and the Red Sox moneyline was intended to lock up a third straight winning season here and a first from Africa. But the all-or-nothing spot finished in the way I feared it might, with a Tampa Bay win and a final tally in the red. A win tonight won’t be enough to erase that but we’ve got another regular season play as we gear up to bet the playoffs.
It so happens Owens is back on the mound for this next play, too. He wasn’t bad against Tampa Bay two times ago when he gave up 4 earned runs over 7.1 frames. But those 4 runs actually account for his third-worst start in the 10 he’s made this season, which also accounts for his entire career. Six of those 10 have finished with either 0 or 1 run allowed and he bounced back just fine in his most previous start when he blanked Baltimore over 7.2 innings, again. After taking three of four in the Bronx, Boston will have a chance to finish the season .500, which would have been pretty unthinkable two months ago. It starts with a win in game one against the Indians, who are just half a game better due to a postponed game that won’t be made up.
But while Owens has been great since coming up in the middle of the season, Josh Tomlin has had similar results in his nine starts since returning from shoulder surgery at the season’s start. Tomlin’s ERA jumped over 3.00 for the first time in his last start when he allowed 5 runs and couldn’t get through 4 innings against the Royals, but every other outing has been great for the Cleveland righty. Tomlin WHIP is a tiny 0.81 and he’s tossed two complete games in his nine total starts. He’s allowed just 42 hits in nearly 60 innings and put up an elite 52 strikeouts to just 6 walks.
Both teams may be out the playoff race but this series won’t be completely meaningless with both records teetering at the .500 mark. With two strong starting pitchers looking to finish off meaningful abbreviated seasons, this one looks like a nice under spot.
Free Pick: Under 8.0 +100
YTD: 25-21-5 -1.06
2014: 45-28-3 +9.02