The bats were loud last night as Boston hammered Texas but what happens in the second game of this three-game set? Let's see where the value lies in the MLB odds tonight.
By: Swinging Johnson
There is an old Paula Abdul song named "Opposites Attract" and in that song is a line that describes the futility of my free picks and season thus far. Hum along with me now and notice the line, I take two steps forward I take two steps back. Sure the song sucks but that's not the point here kids. The fact is I keep following up a win with a head-scratching loss while quoting cheesy '80's songs to deflect my shame and humiliation.
Case in point. We nailed the Over 9 on Tuesday night when the bats for Boston were positively booming in their 17-5 victory. But last night we turned our lonely eyes to John Lackey who held up his end of the bargain by pitching six solid innings, allowing only one run on five hits. However, it was not to be as the Sox dropped a 3-2 decision and we burned 3.63 units.
Let's see what tonight's MLB odds hold in store from us.
Check out our Thursday Morning MLB Odds & Betting Lines Report.
Texas Rangers (36-22, +8.8 units)
Adrian Beltre went deep, Elvis Andrus knocked in the winning run and Alex Ogando never missed a beat after emerging from the DL to stifle the potent Red Sox bats last night. The Rangers were slight underdogs at about +110 in most MLB betting sites and rewarded their backers with a 3-2 victory.
Tonight Texas will turn the ball over to Derek Holland who dazzled in the month of May and has baffled the Red Sox in recent years. Holland did it again on May 3rd when he went eight full inning, earning nine K's and allowing only six hits in a 7-0 blanking of Boston. Holland was a -130 favorite that night in Boston but tonight he will assume the underdog's role as he is opposed by Sox "ace" John Lester (even though we know Buchholz is the true ace).
Boston Red Sox (36-24, +5.5 units)
Dustin Pedroia flexed his muscles and his bat in the 6th inning when he took Texas starter Alex Ogando long for his fourth homer of the season. The bats were pretty much silent the rest of the evening until Saltalamacchia (why is it I crave veal every time I say his name?) made it interesting in the eighth when he doubled in a run only to be left stranded at second. That pretty much sums up Boston's offense last night which was in stark contrast to the offensive fireworks on Tuesday.
Jon Lester looked like he had finally exorcised the doppelganger who inhabited his body last season and returned to the sweet slinging Jonny Lester of old when he started the season off with three consecutive victories.Everything was all lollipops and sunshine until he met the White Sox on May 20th and got beat up for six runs (five earned) on seven hits in six innings of work in a 6-4 loss. He then allowed four runs to both the Indians and Yankees in his next two starts.
So which Jon Lester will we see here tonight? Bet365.com and Pinbet.com both have the Red Sox at -128 which is down from an opening line of -140. We will have to wait and see where this line eventually settles.
I'm not going to struggle with this selection. We know what we're getting with Texas pitcher Derek Holland while the Jekyll and Hyde routine of Jon Lester is getting stale, particularly if you've backed him recently in your MLB picks. Jon Lester gets rattled when the umpire makes a call with which he disagrees. It's an immaturity that has plagued him throughout his career. Let's hope the ump squeezes Lester tonight and watch the meltdown commence!
MLB Picks: Play the Rangers +118 for 3 units at Bet365.com.
By: Swinging Johnson
Swinging Johnson – MLB Record (6-4, +4.23 units)
*Games assigned 1 to 5 units.
I did believe young Mr. Grimm would have a rough time of it in his Fenway debut adjusting to the peculiarities of the park and sure enough, 'twas the case. The weather was perfect, the pitchers were vulnerable and the bats came alive as Boston never let us sweat this one with a 17-5 shellacking of the Rangers. We had Over 9 (+102) for 3 units which was a relatively early line dealt by Pinbet in our MLB odds and we made it count.
As I wrote yesterday, I will be covering the Red Sox for this series and the next when they host Los Angeles so stick with me and enjoy the ride.
Check out our Wednesday Morning MLB Odds & Betting Lines Report.
Texas Rangers (35-22, +7.7 units)
The Rangers will try to shake off the beating they took as they were battered and bruised in a 17-5 slugfest last night. Texas will send Alex Ogando (4-2, 3.08) to the hill in his first start since being sidelined on May 15th with biceps tendinitis. Ogando was cruising in his last couple of starts before he went down and even silenced the Sox on May 1st when he allowed only one run in six innings of work in a 5-1 Texas victory. That night he was opposed by John Lackey who is slated to take the hill for Boston tonight.
The Rangers better hope Ogando is healthy and ready to go because they used up six pitchers in last night's batting practice session for the Red Sox. The wound only healed when left fielder David Murphy was summoned to the mound to stop the bleeding and he did just that. He pitched the final frame, allowing only one hit and even got himself a strikeout.
Boston Red Sox (36-23, +6.7 units)
Boston hitters were seeing every pitch the size of a beach ball last night when they pounded out 17 runs on 19 hits without ever coming to bat in the ninth. The young guns were a big part of the onslaught as rookie whiz kid Jose Iglesias continues to try and convince Red Sox management that he's not just an electrifying presence in the field but can do damage at the plate. Iglesias added two more hits to his argument and upped his batting average to .431 on the season.
Jackie Bradley Jr. knocked in three RBI's from the bottom of the order and is making his case to stick with the big club. Bradley is being eyed as the centerfielder of the future and the future will start next year if Boston does not sign Jacoby Ellsbury.
John Lackey (3-5, 2.96) will toe the slab for the Sox and his last start was tarnished by the long ball. He gave up three solo shots to the Phillies in his last outing as the Sox lost 4-3. Lackey has been cruising at home lately with 20 K's and a micro 0.90 ERA over his last 20 innings of work in front of the Fenway faithful.
The Red Sox have the hot bats and Texas will be in deep trouble if Ogando is touched up early. Their bullpen was used extensively last night and Boston would love to get them working again tonight.
My biggest reservation about backing Boston is the man on the mound, John Lackey. He's been torched by the Rangers throughout his career, amassing a 6.14 ERA and a 12-15 record over 37 games against Texas.
But I will keep my fingers crossed that Lackey can get through six innings relatively unscathed and Ogando will struggle after three weeks on the shelf. Boston is hitting everything and that's a rough team for Ogando to face while trying to work off the rust.In our MLB picks we will side with the Boston Red Sox -121 for 3 units at Bet365.com
By: Swinging Johnson
Swinging Johnson – MLB Record (5-4, +1.17 units)
*Games assigned 1 to 5 units.
Well, I’m not really heating up in my MLB picks as evidenced by my record. My last foray into the murky depths of the major league baseball betting waters was a dabble on the Chicago Cubs as they were getting a generous +127 against the upstart Pittsburgh Pirates. It turns out it was not so generous as the old axiom continues to haunt me every time I play a money burning underdog, there is no value in losing.
For those of you following along (thanks Mom), that game occurred on May 23rd and the Cubs bowed yet again, 4-2 to the Bucs. It’s time to right this ship, get my mojo back and what better way to do it then analyzing, dissecting and postulating on the series between the Texas Rangers and the Boston Red Sox. I will be writing on each game of this three-game set and then following up with Boston’s three-game showdown at Fenway when they host the Angels. Can I go 6-0? Let’s find out.
Check out our Tuesday Morning MLB Odds & Betting Lines Report.
Texas Rangers (35-21, +8.7 units)
The Rangers dispatched the Royals 3-1 on Sunday as they took two of three at home against KC and now pack their bags for a date in Beantown. Young Justin Grimm will get the nod this evening as he hopes to continues his winning ways. Grimm's last three outings have all been solid performances as the Rangers have rolled to victories in each, with the young righty pitching into the 7th inning and allowing an average of less than three runs per game.
We know Texas sports a power-packed lineup but what we're not sure of is whether or not third baseman Adrian Beltre will be in uniform for tonight's game after straining his hamstring in Saturday's 4-1 loss to the Royals. Beltre has been on a tear over his last nine games with a .421 batting average, two dingers and six RBI's. The Rangers will miss his punch, particularly in his old haunt of Fenway Park where he wound up the 2010 season with a .321 average and 28 homeruns. If Beltre doesn't go then journeyman Jeff Baker will probably get the nod at the hot corner assuming he is recovered from an ailing shoulder injured in Sunday's game.
Boston Red Sox (35-23, +5.7 units)
Ryan Dempster will take the bump for the Sox on Tuesday night and is desperately trying to get back on track after taking losses in four of his last five contests. He was walloped in his last four outings before mercifully putting it together in his last start where he went seven full innings and allowed only two runs on six hits but still took the loss in a 3-1 defeat against the Phillies a week ago.
Mike Napoli is looking to improve upon his woeful performance against his old team when he 1 for 10 and whiffed four times when the Red Sox took to the highway and dropped all three games to the Rangers in early May. But Boston recently took two of three from their divisional rivals the New York Yankees and the bats seem to be coming alive as the Red Sox have produced 23 runs over their last four games.
Both these teams are evenly matched. The Red Sox are tops in the majors in runs scored with 289 and a +60 run differential while Texas is 3rd in batting average and 2nd in slugging percentage while maintaining a +59 run differential. Their records are virtually identical so where is the advantage in our MLB picks in this one?
Quite frankly, it beats the hell outta me. Ryan Dempster may be a terrific clubhouse guy but he's been erratic this season. He started out great but then got whacked around in four consecutive games until he was outdueled by Cliff Lee and the Phillies in his last start.
On the other side of the hill we have the youngster Justin Grimm who will be making his Fenway debut. He's been getting better as the season has progressed and now leads all rookie pitchers in wins. But pitching at Fenway is a whole new concept, particularly when those fly balls which would normally be outs, clang off the Green Monster for singles and doubles.
It should be mild and slightly breezy in Boston tonight. The perfect evening for a hot dog and a warm pretzel washed down by a cold beer and plenty of runs to help our sports picks cash in tonight.Play Over 9 (+102) for 3 units at Pinbet.com