The worst seems to be over for the Red Sox as they close in on their first division title since 1995. They dropped two of three to the Yankees this weekend, but still own a 4 ½ game lead in the AL East with a remaining schedule that isn't overly daunting.
Boston starts a three-game series against Toronto today, and then face Tampa Bay, Minnesota and Oakland to close out the season. The Red Sox are 5-1 in Toronto this year, and earned a three-game sweep the last time they traveled to Canada.
The Sox send knuckleballer Tim Wakefield (16-10, 4.68) to the mound to solve the Jays today. He is 3-1 with a 2.77 ERA in four starts against Toronto this season.
Pick: Red Sox -125
The Tigers have won five straight games going into this series against Cleveland, a three-game set which could help decide whether Detroit makes the playoffs.
The Tigers are 4 ½ back from the Indians, but come into this week’s series having scored at least four runs in each of its last ten games. Detroit will look to outfielder Magglio Ordonez for inspiration – he is batting .404 with four homers, 14 RBIs and 16 runs against Cleveland this season.
The Indians send Paul Byrd (15-6, 4.34) to the mound to try to tame the Tigers' bats tonight, but he gave up seven runs in three innings against Detroit the last time he faced them at Jacobs Field.
Pick: Tigers +114
The White Sox get a chance to restore some pride to their organization and get off the bottom of the AL Central when they take on the Royals tonight.
The Sox can take confidence from a dramatic come-from-behind win over the L.A. Angels on Sunday night. Chicago was down 7-1 in the seventh inning but rallied to win 9-7. Jim Thome ended the game with a walk-off, two-run homer and became the 23rd player to reach 500 career home runs.
Chicago's won eight of 11 meetings with Kansas this season, and today sends Javier Vazquez (12-8, 3.90) to the mound looking for his second straight win. Vasquez is 5-2 with a 2.80 ERA in nine career starts against the Royals.
Pick: White Sox -120
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