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Robertson Goes For Tigers

It took the Detroit Tigers eight games to record their first win of 2008. They hope it doesn't take as long to record their second.

After finally breaking into the win column, the Tigers conclude their three-game series Thursday at Fenway Park against a Boston Red Sox team looking to climb back to the .500 mark.

Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made Boston -137 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for tonight's game, the over/under has been set at 10 total runs (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 51% of bets for this game have been placed on Detroit +127 (View MLB Bet Percentages).

Detroit (1-7) had scored a total of just 15 runs while losing its first seven games of the season, but the offense finally snapped out of its funk Wednesday night in a 7-2 victory over the Red Sox (4-5). Former Boston shortstop Edgar Renteria had three of the Tigers' 10 hits, while Carlos Guillen and Marcus Thames both homered.

The odds remain stacked against the Tigers. No team has ever reached the postseason after losing its first seven games, although Detroit manager Jim Leyland doesn't take much stock in that bit of history.

"It's a 162-game season. That is a fact,'' Leyland said. "They give you all this other stuff - no team's done this, no team's done that - but you do play 162 games.''

Boston's vaunted lineup, meanwhile, has not been particularly imposing in 2008. The Red Sox are scoring 3.3 runs per game, down significantly from their 2007 World Series championship club's 5.4 average.

Slugger David Ortiz went 0-for-4 with a strikeout Wednesday night, dropping his season batting average to .091 (3-for-33). A home run against Oakland in the season's fourth game remains his only extra-base hit.

Ortiz may have a tough time getting going in the series finale, as he is 3-for-19 (.158) with no homers and five strikeouts against Detroit starter Nate Robertson (0-0, 9.00 ERA).

Robertson had a tough time of it in his season debut last Friday, giving up five runs and seven hits in five innings of an 8-5 loss to the Chicago White Sox, although he did not factor in the decision.

While he handles Ortiz well, the left-hander has struggled against Boston overall, going 2-3 with a 6.42 ERA in seven career starts.

Robertson will be opposed by knuckleballer Tim Wakefield (0-0, 4.50).

The 41-year-old right-hander held Toronto scoreless through the first five innings on Friday, but yielded three in the following frame. He wound up with no decision in Boston's 6-3 defeat, giving up six hits and walking three batters while giving up three runs in six innings, but earned positive reviews from manager Terry Francona.

"He threw the ball well,'' Francona said. "The ball was moving all over the place.''

Wakefield is 13-10 with a 4.50 ERA in 32 career appearances, including 20 starts, versus Detroit.

Tigers right fielder Magglio Ordonez has fared well against the knuckleballer, going 15-for-33 (.455) with two homers and five doubles lifetime.

Boston may be without third baseman Mike Lowell, who left Wednesday's game after spraining his left thumb. X-rays were negative and manager Terry Francona said he would be further checked Thursday.

The Red Sox are trying to avoid their first losing record after 10 games since 1997, when they opened 4-6.

After this contest, they host the arch-rival New York Yankees for three games. The Tigers travel to Chicago for a three-game weekend series with the White Sox.

Here are some top trends for tonight's matchup:

-DETROIT is 1-7 (-10.2 Units) against the money line in all games this season.

-ROBERTSON is 2-3 when starting against BOSTON with an ERA of 6.42 and a WHIP of 1.647.

-WAKEFIELD is 8-6 when starting against DETROIT with an ERA of 4.65 and a WHIP of 1.264.

by: Dave Michaels - thespread.com – Email Us

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