The AL Central-leading Chicago White Sox and their new
third-baseman Kevin Youkilis visit Youk's old stompin' grounds as they hit
Boston for four games with the Red Sox at Fenway starting Monday night.
The Red Sox have taken two of the first three games of this
four-game series after winning Wednesday 10-1. So Boston now leads the season
series with Chicago five games to two.
On a key personnel note the Red Sox had hoped they wouldn't have
to place Big Papi on the DL, after he tweaked an Achilles tendon Monday night,
but they did so Wednesday. So the injury bug continues to pester Boston. But in
some good news it looks like Dustin Pedroia could return to the lineup
Thursday, after missing the last three weeks with a sore thumb.
Boston will try for the series victory Thursday by sending
Clay Buchholz (8-3, 5.54) to the mound, while Chicago will shoot for the split
with rookie Jose Quintana (4-1, 2.60).
Buchholz had a very rough start to this season, but then
looked like he had gotten his act together, with four quality starts in a row
into June. But he's reverted a bit over his last couple of outings. In his one
start since a stint on the DL because of an internal bleeding issue Buchholz
gave up four runs in 6 1/3 innings in a loss to Tampa last Saturday, although
he did take a 3-2 lead into the seventh inning.
Overall this year Buchholz has given up 102 hits, including
15 homers, in 93 innings, and his K/BB ratio isn't even 2/1, at 66/35.
Buchholz hasn't pitched against the White Sox since 2010.
Despite his struggles Boston is 9-6 in games started by
Buchholz this season, and nine of those games have played 'over' on the totals.
Lefty Quintana has five quality starts in nine tries this
year, but he got touched up in his last outing for five runs on eight hits in
five innings by the Royals last Friday. On the season Quintana has allowed 54
hits in 62 innings, walked 13 and struck out 41.
This will be his first-ever start against the Red Sox.
The White Sox have won seven of Quintana's starts this year,
and six of his nine starts have played 'under' on the totals.
In sampling several baseball betting shops Thursday morning
we found Boston listed at -131 for Thursday night's game at Matchbook, while
Chicago was getting +130 at Heritage.
The Red Sox can also be gotten at upwards of +140 on the run
line at some online sportsbooks.
Finally, every book we consulted was listing the total on
Thursday's game at 10.5.
Free MLB Pick
We're not sure who's going to win Thursday's game, but we
see that Boston is averaging almost six runs per game when facing left-handed
starters this year. So despite the big number we'll take the 'over' on this
These teams have split the first two games of this series,
Boston winning Monday 5-1 while Chicago took Tuesday's game 7-5. The Red Sox
won as -140 favorites, while the White Sox won as +170 dogs.
So Chicago, at 50-40, now leads the AL Central by 3.5 games
over the second-place Tigers.
Boston, meanwhile, at 46-45, now trails the Yankees by a
whopping 10.5 games in the AL East. But the Red Sox are also only one game
behind the Tigers and Rays, who are tied for for the second AL Wild-Card spot.
In a battle of Venezuelan lefties Felix Doubront (9-4, 4.41)
will start on the mound for Boston Wednesday against Pedro Hernandez, making
his ML debut, for Chicago.
Doubront is only six-for-17 on quality starts this year, but
the Red Sox have won 12 of his starts, thanks to some great run support. Most
recently Doubront gave up three ER on four hits through 6 1/3 innings against the
Yankees 11 days ago, but he had a rather rough month of June, allowing 19 ER in
29 1/3 innings.
For the year Doubront has given up 97 hits, including 15
homers, and walked 35 in 96 innings.
The totals are 11-6 in Doubront's starts this year.
In his one start this year against the White Sox Doubront
picked up a win, allowing three runs in six innings of a 10-3 Boston victory
back in April.
The 23-year-old Hernandez, meanwhile, is 32-13 as a minor
leaguer, with a 3.42 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP. At AA Birmingham this spring
Hernandez went 7-2 with a 2.75 ERA.
As of early Wednesday morning, most of the top baseball betting sites had failed to release their lines, but keep checking back, as we will post the latest odds once released.
On the personnel front Boston will be without slugger David
Ortiz for the next few days, after he tweaked an Achilles Monday night, and
they're still playing without Dustin Pedroia. But the Red Sox got Carl Crawford
back this week, and so far he's four-for-seven with a walk, an RBI, four runs
and three stolen bases in two games.
Free MLB Pick
We're not usually inclined to back a pitcher making his ML
debut, but we like the numbers Hernandez has put up in the minors, and we give
a pitcher an advantage when he goes against a lineup that hasn't faced him
before. Also, we're not big on Doubront's performance as of late. So we'll go
with Chicago for Wednesday.
My Pick: Take the White Sox
Boston took the opener of this series Monday night 5-1,
breaking open a tie game with four runs in the eighth. The Red Sox won as -145
favorites on the MLB betting line, and the game stayed 'under' its total of 10.
So Chicago's lead in the AL Central sits at 2.5 games over
the second-place Tigers.
The Red Sox, meanwhile, now trail Baltimore by just one game
in the race for the second AL Wild-Card slot.
However, as if Boston hasn't had enough injury problems this
season, slugger David Ortiz tweaked an Achilles Monday night, and is likely out
for at least the rest of this series.
Lefty Jon Lester (5-6, 4.49) will take his turn in the
rotation for Boston Tuesday night (7:10 pm Eastern), while Phil Humber (3-4,
6.01) will come off the DL to pitch for Chicago.
Lester is eight-for-18 on quality starts this year, and the
Red Sox are only 7-11 in games he's started. Most recently, Lester gave up four
ER on nine hits in less than five innings vs. the Yankees nine days ago,
although that came just after he had thrown a very good 6 2/3 innings vs.
Oakland. But, for the season Lester has allowed 122 hits and walked 30 in 112
In his only start this season vs. the White Sox, Lester got a
win by throwing seven innings of shutout ball back in April, walking one and
Humber, who somehow threw a perfect game in Seattle back in
April, is just four-for-12 on quality starts this year, and Chicago is 5-7 in
games he's started. Just before going on the DL a month ago with a sore elbow, Humber had allowed 14 ER on 22 hits over his previous 15 1/3 innings. On the
season, Humber has given up 69 hits, including a dozen homers, and 31 walks in
In his one start this year vs. the Red Sox, Humber got rocked
for nine runs on eight hits, including three dongs, in just five innings of a
10-3 Chicago loss. It's been pretty much downhill from there for Humber.
As of Tuesday AM the best MLB odds we could find on Boston for
Tuesday night's game was the -166 being offered at Matchbook, while Chicago
could be gotten at +164 at The Greek.
The BoSox could also be played at +118 on the run line at
Finally, most sportsbooks are lining Tuesday's game with a
total of 10.
Free MLB Pick
Even with Big Papi
out, there's just no way we can back Humber. So we'll go with Boston again
To set the stage for this series, the ChiSox just took two
of three games in Kansas City over the weekend, winning Sunday's series finale
2-1 behind another quality start from Chris Sale and another home run from Adam
So the ChiSox, winners of 11 of their last 15 games and at
49-39, lead the AL Central by 3.5 games over the surging Detroit Tigers.
Boston, meanwhile, just took two of three games from the
Rays in St. Pete over the weekend, winning
Sunday's rubber match 7-3.
So Boston, at 45-44, trails first-place New York by 9.5
games in the AL East. But the Red Sox are also only a game and a half back of
the Baltimore Orioles in the battle for the second AL Wild-Card spot.
Aaron Cook (2-2, 4.37) is slated to start for Boston Monday
against Dylan Axelrod (1-2, 6.16) for Chicago.
Cook, who's making some starts in place of the injured
Dice-K, has just one quality start in four tries this season. Most recently
Cook gave up three runs on nine hits in six innings out in Oakland 11 days ago.
But just before that he threw a two-hit shut-out at Seattle. On the season Cook
has allowed 25 hits in 23 innings, walked just two but almost amazingly has
struck out just two batters.
Last year, pitching for Colorado, Cook made one start vs.
the White Sox and held them to one run on five hits in six innings.
Warming up over in the other bullpen Axelrod, who's making a
start Monday in place of the injured Gavin Floyd, is just one-for-five on
quality starts this year. Most recently Axelrod picked up a win by throwing two
innings of shut-out relief against Kansas City Saturday. But that came on the
heels of his most recent start in which he got bombed by Toronto for seven runs
and three home runs in three innings last Monday.
On the season Axelrod has allowed 34 hits, including seven
homers, in 31 innings, walked 11 and struck out 22.
In his only career appearance vs. Boston Axelrod gave up a
solo homer and two other hits in 2 1/3 innings of relief back in April.
In scrolling through the baseball betting menus at a bunch
of online sportsbooks Monday morning the best price we could find on Boston for
Monday night's game was the -125 at Matchbook, while the best number on Chicago
was the +122 offered at The Greek.
The Red Sox can also be gotten at +150 on the run line at
Also, every book we consulted was listing the total on
Monday's game at 11.
Finally, Bovada is listing Boston at -170 to win this
series, with Chicago getting +140 as the underdog.
In early betting action on Monday's game about 55 percent of
play on the side has come in on the Red Sox, and about 55 percent of play on
the total has come in, somewhat surprisingly to us, on the UNDER.
In the only previous meeting this season between these teams
the Red Sox took three of four games from the White Sox at The Cell back in
On the personnel front the Red Sox, rocked by injuries all
season long, are expected to have Carl Crawford in the lineup for the first
time this season Monday night. Crawford was first dealing with a wrist injury
over the off-season, then hurt his elbow. Now he finally gets another chance to
start earning that monster contract he signed last year.
Free MLB Pick
This is a tough one. We're not too high on either of
Monday's starting pitchers, so that would usually point us toward the OVER. But 11 is a big number. So in looking at a side for our MLB picks, the Red Sox, little by little,
are getting healthier, and could be poised for a run. So we'll go with Boston
Be sure to check out our MLB Picks of the Day for another capper's perspective on this game.