MLB Picks: Orioles vs. Red Sox Game 2

Matthew Jordan

Friday, July 4, 2014 7:16 PM UTC

Friday, Jul. 4, 2014 7:16 PM UTC

Thanks to Friday's rainout in Boston due to Tropical Storm Arthur, the Orioles and Red Sox will play a day-night doubleheader at Fenway on Saturday. We will look at Game 2, with the Sox as -140 opening favorites on MLB odds with a total of 9 runs.

Unusual Doubleheader Trend
If you count all of modern baseball history, the vast majority of doubleheaders end in splits. In recent years, however, the home team has been sweeping much more often. So I'm not sure what to make of this season. This will be the 15th doubleheader of the season. Eight have been swept. The first three, as one would expect, were by the home team. The past five have gone to the road club: Rays at Red Sox (May 1), Dodgers at Twins (May 1), Nationals at Cubs (June 28), Braves at Phillies (June 28), Angels at White Sox (July 1). What's the moral of that story? Throw out split or road/home sweep trends. Take the better team, although the club that wins the first game generally is a better bet to win the second -- especially if it's the home team.

Probable Pitchers
Friday's original starters, Miguel Gonzalez and Jon Lester, will pitch the opener Saturday. So it's Ubaldo Jimenez for the O's and John Lackey for the Sox in the nightcap.

You would have to say that Jimenez (3-8, 4.31) has been one of the worst free-agent signings of the offseason as he got $48 million largely off just a good second half last year with Cleveland. Perhaps Jimenez found something recently as he comes off his best and longest start of the season, holding the Rangers to no earned runs and four hits over eight innings while striking out seven. It was Jimenez's first win since May 8. He has faced the Sox twice and the Orioles lost both. In his Baltimore debut on April 2 at Camden Yards, Jimenez allowed four runs and five hits (two homers) over six innings. On April 20 at Fenway, he allowed three runs and four hits over 5.1 innings. Jimenez actually has been much better on the road with a 2-2 record and 3.20 ERA.

A few Red Sox will be frothing at the mouth to face Jimenez. Mike Napoli is 4-for-9 with a double and two home runs off him career. Dustin Pedroia is 7-for-16 with four RBIs. Jonny Gomes is 7-for-18 with three home runs and eight RBIs.

Lackey (9-5, 3.62) had been Boston's best pitcher other than Lester but not lately. Two starts ago, Lackey was bombed for seven runs and seven hits in just 3.2 innings in a loss at Seattle. Last Sunday, he was hit for five runs and six hits (two homers) but managed to get the win at Yankee Stadium. Perhaps a return home will help as Lackey is 5-2 with a 2.77 ERA at Fenway. He faced the Orioles twice in April. Opposite Jimenez on April 2, Lackey got the win by giving up two runs over six innings. On April 18 at home, Lackey allowed six runs and 10 hits over 5.1 innings in a loss.

The Orioles will get back third baseman Manny Machado (.239, seven HRs, 17 RBIs) off his suspension for Game 2 of the doubleheader. Machado looked like he was heating up before sitting out as he had homered in three of his previous four games. He is 6-for-15 with two homers and four RBIs career off Lackey. Reigning MLB home run king Chris Davis, in a major slump, is a career .324 hitter off Lackey with three doubles, two homers and six RBIs in 34 at-bats.

Season Series
Tied 5-5, with Boston 2-2 at home. Pedroia is hitting .390 against the Orioles this season, with Brock Holt at .346 and David Ortiz at .324 with two home runs and five RBIs. Napoli is hitting just .179 but has two homers and eight RBIs. For the Orioles, Adam Jones is hitting .395 with a homer and five RBIs against Boston. Nelson Cruz, battling for the MLB home run and RBIs lead and a great free-agent acquisition, is hitting .257 with three home runs and nine RBIs vs. the Red Sox in 2014.

MLB Free Picks
Red Sox at +150 on the runline and the 'under' 9 runs at -110 are our two recommended betting picks for today. The Orioles are 4-13 in their past 17 Game 2s of a doubleheader. They are 1-6 in Jimenez's past seven starts vs. the AL East. Boston is 6-2 in its past eight Game 2s of a doubleheader. The Sox are 5-1 in Lackey's past six home starts against Baltimore. The 'under' is 5-1 in his past six overall against the O's.

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