The Red Sox have been prohibitive favorites in the first two games of this series and rewarded their backers with consecutive victories but where is the value in our MLB odds in the series finale?
By: Swinging Johnson
Though we weren't nearly as confident backing the Red Sox in our MLB picks last night as we were in the series opener, we were nonetheless paid off when Stephen Drew drove in the winning run over five hours after the first pitch was tossed. Boston defeated the Mariners 5-4 in 15 innings and moved back into first place in the AL East while we cashed once again with the big chalk at home.
Seattle Mariners (50-57)
If the Mariners have any hope of salvaging anything from this dismal trip to Boston then they certainly couldn't ask for a better guy to take the mound at Fenway this evening. Felix Hernandez, arguably the best pitcher in baseball, is undefeated in his last 11 starts amassing a 6-0 record to complement a 2.18 ERA during that span and a sizzling 1.43 over his last six appearances. Even more awe inspiring is his one run allowed in his last 25 innings of work. Are you kidding me?
The Seattle bats woke up a bit last night after tagging John Lackey for three runs and then watched young third baseman Kyle Seager tie the game with a solo shot off Boston reliever Junichi Tazawa. But that would be the last run Seattle would score as they ultimately bowed in the 15th inning to drop their eighth straight at Fenway Park.
Boston Red Sox (65-44)
Those gritty Red Sox did it again as they eked out a 15th inning victory and moved oh so slimly back into first place over the Tampa Bay Rays. But can a team that has the second best record in all of baseball really be referred to as gritty, anymore? When GM Ben Cherington moved all his high-priced talent, along with their high maintenance egos, to LA for a few prospects and a bag of baseballs the talking heads began to utter the word rebuilding. Apparently Cherington and the his players didn't get the memo because they are now the toast of Beantown and Red Sox Nation is rejoicing.
One of the good clubhouse guys Cherington paid for in the offseason was tonight's starting pitcher Ryan Dempster. I'm not sure you can put a price on good mojo but if you could then $14 million US would probably be a pretty good start because that's exactly what the Sox are shelling out for Dempster this season. While his jovial demeanor and good guy attitude has been a boon off the field, his performance between the lines has fallen short recently. He has posted a 5.79 ERA in his last three starts and has not made it out of the sixth inning in any of those appearances. Ironically, the Red Sox have backed him with tremendous run support and won all three of those games.
I know the Sox have Seattle's number and positively dominate when the Mariners come to town but when do you ever get King Felix as an underdog? While Seattle has had a tough time with the Red Sox this season, the Mariners ace has not. Hernandez has won his last three against Boston and is 3-1 with a 2.53 ERA in six career starts at Fenway.
Dempster was shredded the last time he faced this Seattle lineup when he last only 3 1/3 innings, allowed nine hits and seven runs (four earned) but ultimately the Red Sox crawled out of that deficit to win the game 8-7 on July 11th.
After perusing the MLB odds I am going to take the visitor tonight and hope we can sweep the series. The Sox may have the bigger bats but the Mariners have a legend on the hill.
Free MLB Picks: Play Seattle -101 at Bet365.com
Wednesday's Game Two
By: Swinging Johnson
Laying -170 in MLB odds is not an easy thing to do particularly when you have an unproven rookie taking the mound but Brandon Workman was worthy of our support as he picked up nine K's and allowed only one run over six innings of work in Boston's 8-2 victory.
Conversely, Seattle pitcher Joe Saunders melted under the bright lights of Fenway just as he has done throughout his career, which by the way, we pointed out in our opening game analysis. I hope you tailed us last night but that's ancient history. Let's see if we can string together two winners in a row in our MLB picks.
Seattle Mariners (50-56)
The Mariners aren't trotting a back-of-the-rotation guy like Joe Saunders up to the hill tonight. They've got Hisashi Iwakuma on the bump and he has been outstanding this season. In his last start Iwakuma shut down the Twins, surrendering only four hits and allowing no runs en route to an 8-2 victory.
Iwakuma has gotten W's in his last three starts and you would have to go back to July 9th when last he was roughed up. And who do you think did the roughing up on that steamy night in Seattle? Oh you guessed it - these Boston Red Sox! Iwakuma's chief tormentor was David Ortiz who had four hits off the Mariners' starter including a solo shot. Boston rallied from a 5-1 deficit and knocked Iwakuma out of the box after tagging him for six runs in just three innings.
Boston Red Sox (64-44)
The Red Sox will send John Lackey to the hill tonight and he has been a refreshing surprise for Boston this season. After underachieving throughout much of his career in Boston, Lackey has responded this season with a 3.19 ERA and a WHIP of 1.19. However there may be chinks in the armor and for those who have had their eyebrow arched whenever the conversation turns to John Lackey, all that skepticism may be justified.
Lackey has withered in his last two starts. He lost his July 20th start to the Yankees as a -150 favorite when he allowed four runs off ten hits. His outing in Baltimore six days later was no better when he surrendered five runs to the Orioles in a 6-0 defeat. This may simply be a regression to the mean for the veteran right-hander. He has been plagued by injuries since signing a 5-year, $82.5 million deal back in 2009 with the Red Sox. His performances, excluding his last two starts, have been a contributing factor in Boston's unanticipated success this year. However, if he reverts back to form, the Red Sox may be in trouble tonight.
Unlike last night in our MLB odds, this game is not quite as easy to analyze. On one hand we have the Mariners with the better pitcher but on the other we have the home team with the decidedly bigger bats. If we are leaning towards the Red Sox, we can take a small measure of solace in that we won't be laying as much vig as last night in our MLB picks but that will be little consolation if we are ripping up a ticket where we still laid -150.
I am going to side with the Red Sox again tonight because as good as Seattle's Iwakuma has been, the Red Sox did tag him pretty good only three weeks ago not to mention Boston has dominated Seattle at Fenway winning their last seven. Sox pitcher John Lackey may be stumbling but he has defeated the Mariners in his last two starts though his last appearance against Seattle was two years ago. Nevertheless, we will throw caution to the wind and back the Red Sox tonight in our MLB picks.Free MLB Picks: Play Boston -150 at Bet365.com
Tuesday's Series Opener
By: Swinging Johnson
The Boston Red Sox are a half game out of first place after dropping a narrow 2-1 decision to the AL East leading Tampa Bay Rays on Monday night. However, Boston is light years ahead of where most baseball pundits predicted they would be and rumor has it that they are making a strong push for either Cliff Lee or Jake Peavy to shore up their starting pitching. But right now we’re focusing on the task at hand – picking an MLB odds winner in tonight’s game between the Mariners and the Red Sox.
Seattle Mariners (50-55)
The Mariners captured a 6-4 victory over the Twins last night and tonight’s starting pitcher Joe Saunders is looking to bounce back after a brutal outing last time he took the bump when the Indians scalped him to the tune of six runs (five earned) over little more than four innings of work en route to a 10-1 shellacking at the hands of the Tribe.
Prior to that dismal performance Saunders had strung together a nice stretch of work, winning four in a row and dazzling with a 1.73 ERA. But the big southpaw has been somewhat enigmatic getting drilled on the road early in the season but has recently gone 4-1 with a 1.73 in his last six trips away from Safeco Field. Saunders last start against the Red Sox was a home victory late last season where he scattered eight hits, allowing three runs over 7 1/3 innings leading the Mariners to a solid 6-3 victory.
However, Fenway has not been so friendly to Saunders where he’s dropped his last two decisions, getting lit up for a combined 12 runs (nine earned) lasting only 4 innings in his last trip to Boston and 5 2/3 in his previous start in Beantown.
Boston Red Sox (63-44)
The Red Sox have been victimized recently by poor umpiring and that reared its ugly head last night when a pivotal tying run was called out at the plate when replays clearly showed Daniel Nava ahead of the tag. The error proved to be fatal as Boston lost a crucial game with the America League East leaders, the Tampa Bay Rays.
Rookie Brandon Workman made his major league debut against these Mariners on July 10th when he was roughed up for three runs in two innings of relief In Boston’s 11-4 victory. But Workman has been melded into the starting rotation and has risen to the occasion. Although he has yet to produce a win, the rookie has been solid in his two starts allowing only two runs in each and going six full in both starts.
Sometimes you can’t overthink these things. The Red Sox are the better team and are at home where they are 34-20 while the Mariners are 21-27 on the highway and have owned Seattle particularly at Fenway. The Sox have defeated the Mariners in their last six meetings in Boston and took the last three games of a four-game set at Safeco earlier this month. The only reservation we have is the response from Brandon Workman. Will he have flashbacks of his MLB debut when this lineup torched him for three runs in only two innings of relief less than three weeks ago?
After looking at what most sportsbooks were offering for this one, it’s hard to make a case for an inspiring performance by the Mariners. They’ve been dominated by the Sox at Fenway and their lineup is not exactly fearsome as reflected by their .243 batting average (ranked 23rd) and 422 total runs scored this season (17th). Contrast that with the Red Sox whose team batting average is ranked 3rd in all of baseball while their 532 total runs places them 2nd in MLB.
For my sports picks tonight we will cast our fortunes with the rookie and watch the Red Sox rebound from last night’s defeat.MLB Picks: Play Boston -170 at Bet365.com