The Boston Red Sox went 0-3 in the first three games against the White Sox, outscored by a combined margin of 24-14.  Terry Francona’s club continues its stretch at Fenway Park with Friday’s series opener against the Oakland Athletics.
Friday’s pitching matchup has Red Sox right-hander Clay Buchholz (4-3, 3.41 ERA) slated to oppose Athletics southpaw Josh Outman (1-0, 2.08 ERA).  The betting odds opened Buchholz as a 175 favorite which has since moved up to -200, while first setting the ‘total’ at 8 ½ and so far it has remained there.

Buchholz picked up a third straight no-decision in Sunday’s 4-3 victory for Boston as a -149 MLB odds road favorite against the Detroit Tigers.  The 2010 All-Star allowed all three Tigers’ runs in six innings (98 pitches), including two homers.

Red Sox relievers Matt Albers and Jonathan Papelbon notched a win and save, respectively.  The duo united to allow no hits in the final three frames, while logging four strikeouts.

The close affair’s seven combined runs dipped below the ‘total’ of 8 ½.  Boston’s David Ortiz cracked a solo-shot homer in the ninth inning for his squad’s go-ahead run, pinch hitting in his sole at-bat.

Boston is 16-13 in its first 29 home dates, with the ‘over’ going 16-10-3.  Ortiz and Co. have his .281 in that span, including .299 against left-handed pitching.

Outman notched his first win since 2009 in Saturday’s 4-2 triumph for Oakland as a 144 home favorite against the Baltimore Orioles.  The 26-year-old gave up both of Baltimore’s runs, allowing six hits in six frames (97 pitches).

Three Athletics relievers went one frame each, holding the Orioles hitless.  Oakland’s Brian Fuentes logged a save, closing the game’s final inning.

The tight battle’s combined six runs ducked ‘under’ the ‘total’ of 7 ½.  

Athletics second baseman Mark Ellis poked a homer in a 2-for-4 night, helping his squad edge out Baltimore in hits, 10-6.

Oakland is 13-15 in its first 28 road games, with the ‘under’ cashing at 17-9-2.  Bob Geren’s crew has hit a sparse .224 in opposing parks, while yielding a team ERA of 2.96.

Friday’s first pitch is scheduled for 7:10 p.m. (ET).  Fenway Park’s weather forecast calling for a 65-degree night with 12 mph winds blowing inward.

This handicapper is backing the ‘under,’ looking for a slow start to scoring in the series.

Buchholz allowed just one run in April’s outing against Oakland, going 5 1/3 innings.  The Texas native has held foes to a combined nine runs in his last six starts (39 IP).

Outman has performed better than his 1.46 WHIP for the season indicates.  The fourth-year hurler’s sole road start on May 23 saw him hold the Los Angeles Angels to one run in seven frames.

The Athletics’ bullpen and its 3.24 ERA should also be able to hold the Red Sox from scoring in later frames.  Oakland’s relievers have held foes to .221 hitting, the lowest in the American League.

The ‘under’ is 7-2-2 in the Athletics’ last 11 contests against right-handed starters, while collecting at 6-1-1 in Boston’s last eight contests against southpaws.

Baseball handicappers should look for a tight duel down the stretch, with ‘under’ tickets cashing.  One squad will have to end its losing streak, but runs should come at a premium while a victor is decided.