The Boston Red Sox are trying to stay alive in the American
League Wild-Card race, but getting swept over the weekend at home by Toronto
didn't help their cause. Now Boston hits the road for a week's worth of games
against division leaders, starting Monday.
These two teams have split the first two games of this
series, Texas winning Monday 9-1 and Boston winning Tuesday 2-1, getting a
quality start from Clay Buchholz and a game-winning RBI base hit from Mike
Aviles in the top of the ninth.
Both those games stayed 'under' on the totals.
The victory broke a four-game losing streak for the Red Sox,
while the Rangers are just 7-10 this month of July.
Texas will throw lefty Derek Holland (6-5, 5.84) for
Wednesday night's rubber match against Josh Beckett (5-8, 4.53) for Boston.
Holland is only 6-for-14 on quality starts this season,
although Texas is 8-6 in games he's started. His last time out he got hit for
six runs in 6 2/3 innings by the Angels, but just before that he shut-out the
Mariners through 7 2/3 innings.
In his only start this year against Boston Holland got a win,
limiting the Sox to a two-run Kevin Youkilis homer through seven innings while
striking out seven in a 6-3 Rangers victory back in May.
Josh Beckett, meanwhile, is 8-for-16 on quality starts this
season, and Boston is only 6-10 in his starts. The Sox have also lost six of
his last seven outings. Most recently the Blue Jays got him for four runs on
seven hits through six innings last Friday, and over his two starts since the
break he's allowed seven ER in 12 innings.
In his one start this year against Texas, which came in that
same game Holland threw, Beckett gave up three ER on seven hits through seven
innings, walking one and striking out seven.
In early betting on Wednesday's game more than 70 percent of
play on the side was coming in on Texas, while action on the total was split
just about 50/50.
As of Wednesday AM the Rangers could be found at -124 at at
couple of baseball betting outlets, while the Red Sox could be gotten at +121
at Matchbook. And most online sportsbooks are listing the total on Wednesday's
game at 10.5, just like Monday and Tuesday.
On an injury note Rangers 3B Adrian Beltre got hit in the
head by a pitch Tuesday night, and his status for Wednesday is uncertain.
Free MLB Pick
This game looked about like a pick 'em to us, until we found
Boston, a .500 team this year, is ten games over .500, 21-11, vs. left-handed
starting pitchers. So we'll go with the Sox and the underdog price on
Texas took the opener of this series Monday night 9-1,
getting a rare quality start from Scott Feldman. The Rangers, as we had hoped,
won as -125 favorites, and the game sneaked 'under' its total of 10.5.
So Texas now leads the season series with Boston three games
to none, having outscored the Sox 33-7.
Looking big-picture, the Rangers lead in the AL West remains
five games over the second-place Angels, while Boston is now four games off the
pace in the battle for the second AL Wild-Card slot.
The Rangers will throw lefty rookie Martin Perez (1-1, 5.54)
Tuesday night against Clay Buchholz (8-3, 5.19) for the Sox.
Buchholz is only 5-16 on quality starts this season, but all
five of those have come in his last seven outings. So maybe he's coming around,
after a really bad first two months of this season. Most recently Buchholz held
the White Sox to one run through eight innings, and over his last seven starts
he's allowed two runs or fewer five times.
This will be Buchholz' first start this year vs. Texas; last
year, in his one start vs. the Rangers, he got bopped around for four solo home
runs in 6 1/3 innings of a 5-1 Boston defeat.
Perez, since joining the big club a month ago, has made two
starts and two relief appearances, allowing in total eight ER in 13 innings.
But if you take away his ML debut, in which he gave up four ER in two-thirds of
an inning, he's allowed four ER over his last 12 1/3 innings.
In one start Perez gave up two runs in 5 1/3 innings vs. the
A's, and in the other he held the Twins to two runs in six innings.
This will be Perez' first-ever appearance vs. the Red Sox.
As of Tuesday AM Texas could be found at -105 for Tuesday
night's game at several online sportsbooks, while Boston could be gotten at
+103 at Matchbook. Also, most baseball betting shops are listing the total on
this game at 10.5.
Free MLB Picks
This is a bit of a tough one, because while we'd like to
take Texas, Buchholz has been better of a late, and while we'd like to take the
'over' the totals are only 19-25 in Rangers home games this season, because
oddsmakers post them so high. Forced here to choose, we'll take a flyer on
Boston for Tuesday's game.
To set the scene for this series, Boston just got swept
three games at Fenway by the Blue Jays, losing Sunday's series finale 15-7. On
the weekend the Sox got outscored 28-11.
So the Red Sox now sit in last place in the AL East, 9.5
games behind the division-leading Yankees. Boston is also now 3.5 games behind
the A's and Orioles in the fight for the second AL Wild-Card spot.
Texas, meanwhile, just dropped two of three games to the
Angels out in Anaheim over the weekend, losing Sunday's series rubber match
7-4. The Rangers are now only 6-9 this
month, averaging just three runs per
game over that span.
So the Rangers lost a game off their lead in the AL West
over the weekend, and go into this week five games up on the Angels and 5.5
games ahead of the surging Oakland A's.
Texas should thank Oakland for its effort over the weekend,
sweeping four games from the Yankees, which helped the Rangers remain just a
half-game back of New York in the battle for the best record in the American
For Monday's pitching matchup the Rangers will send Scott
Feldman (3-6, 5.89) out to the mound vs. lefty Felix Doubront (10-4, 4.24) for
the Red Sox.
Feldman, who hasn't pitched since July 8, will be starting
Monday in place of Roy Oswalt, who's experiencing some back problems. So far
this year Feldman is only 1-10 in quality starts, and Texas is 3-7 in games
he's started. Feldman began this season in the bullpen, then made some starts,
but has been back in the bullpen as of lately. So far this month he gave up
four runs on six hits in six innings vs. the White Sox July 4, then held the
Twins scoreless for two innings July 8. On the season Feldman has allowed 64
hits and 36 ER in 55 innings.
Feldman's last appearance vs. Boston came last August, in
which he held the Sox scoreless on two hits through four innings.
Doubront, by our high standards, is just 7-18 on quality
starts this season, but Boston is 13-5 in games he's started. In his latest
outing he held the White Sox to one run on four hits over six innings last
Wednesday, and over his last three starts he's allowed five ER over 16 2/3
innings. But he's also walked nine guys over that span.
Doubront has one career start and three relief appearances
vs. the Rangers; together he's given up seven ER on 11 hits through 6 1/3
innings in those games.
As of early Monday morning the best price we could find for
Monday's game on Texas was the -135 at The Greek, while Boston could be gotten
at +128 at BetOnline. The Rangers could also be played at +140 on the run line
at several baseball betting outlets.
And most online sportsbooks we checked were listing the
total on Monday's game at 10.5.
In early betting on Monday's game about 60 percent of play
on the side was coming in on Texas.
On the injury front Boston is without slugger David Ortiz,
who's on the DL with a tweaked Achilles tendon.
In the only other meeting so far this season between these
two teams the Rangers swept two games from the Sox at Fenway back in April by
scores of 18-3 and 6-3.
The 'over/unders' are 19-24 in games played at The Ballpark
this season, because while Texas home games are averaging just under 10 runs
per, the totals on those games have very often been posted in double-digits.
Free MLB Pick
While we're not too fond of Feldman, the Red Sox just can't
seem to get their act together. So we'll go with the Rangers for Monday's game as part of our MLB picks.