Red Sox vs. Orioles Game 3
By: Willie Bee
With their series all square at a game apiece, the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles go at it Thursday night to decide their season opening set in Charm City.
The lid-closer on this 3-game series features a couple of lefthanders with Baltimore's Wei-Yin Chen delivering the first pitch at 7:05 PM (ET). Felix Doubront will try and send the Red Sox home for the weekend on a 2-game win streak.
SBR's live MLB odds started the Orioles at -110, and that moneyline has inched up to around -115 at most baseball betting outlets. Thursday's scoreboard mark is 9 runs, favoring the 'under' at some shops.
Napoli & 'Pen Power BoSox To Game 2 Victory
Boston's John Lackey picked up the dubya in Wednesday's 6-2 decision over the O's and Dustin Pedroia stroked four singles to give him six hits on the young season. But it was Mike Napoli and Red Sox relievers who were the keys to the Beantown 9 leveling up in the standings.
Napoli's 2-run blast in the fifth inning broke a 2-2 tie, and the first baseman added icing on the cake with a 2-run single in the seventh. Red Sox manager John Farrell also unveiled the best of his bullpen in the matchup, sending Edward Mujica, Junichi Tazawa and Koji Uehara to the bump at Oriole Park for the final three frames, and the trio of righthanders posted three zeroes to secure the win.
Baltimore, meanwhile, has had little going offensively in the first two games. Nelson Cruz, signed to a 1-year deal just after spring training camps opened, has scored three of the four Oriole runs so far and homered twice to serve as the bulk of what little offense Buck Showalter's club has produced.
Doubront Looks To
Pitching in Baltimore has been a struggle for Doubront since he joined the Red Sox in 2010. The Venezuelan has taken the mound at Camden Yards five times -- 3 starts -- and allowed 15 earned runs in 20 innings.
Chen hasn't exactly mastered the Red Sox either. Seven career starts vs. Boston have yielded a 5.08 ERA, though Baltimore is 5-2 in those contests. One of the two losses came against Doubront at Fenway Park last August.
Mother Nature might not cooperate with this one as a 50%-60% chance of rain exists in Baltimore. The thermometer also isn't expected to make it very far out of the 50s. That weather forecast scares me off my initial feeling that the bats on both sides will work together to send this one past the total. Instead, I'm going to send my free MLB pick out on the road pups in this matchup.
My pick: Red Sox +105
Season: 2-3 (-1.15)
Red Sox vs. Orioles Game 2
By: Willie Bee
Their quick trip to the White House to meet President Obama on Tuesday behind them, the Boston Red Sox get right back to work Wednesday night when the 3-game series with the Baltimore Orioles continues at Camden Yards.
First pitch at Oriole Park is expected to be delivered by Baltimore's Ubaldo Jimenez at 7:05 PM (ET). He'll be opposed by Boston's John Lackey, and the contest opened as a pick 'em on the early lines. The tight moneyline held following overnight action at most shops, with some leaning ever so slightly to the Red Sox.
SBR's live MLB odds sent the total out at 8.5 with a surcharge on the 'over.'
Sox Strand 12 Runners
In Season Opener
Most fans who only heard Monday's 2-1 score in favor of the O's probably thought all the credit went to Chris Tillman and the Baltimore bullpen for shutting down Boston hitters. Indeed, Oriole pitchers are due some credit, but not all of it.
Boston banged out nine hits along with coaxing three walks, but managed to plate just the one run, that coming on Grady Sizemore's leadoff homer in the top of the fourth. The Red Sox were 0-for-10 with runners in scoring position, and left the potential tying run in scoring position in the top of the ninth. They hit .278 in the RISP column a year ago, good enough for second in the American League.
Baltimore also didn't have much going offensively against Jon Lester and his relief corps. The Orioles scored their first run on a double-play in the second, the only time they had an at bat with runners in scoring positions.
Jimenez, Lackey Look
To Erase Rough Springs
Neither of Wednesday's starting pitchers set spring training on fire as Lackey posted a 6.27 ERA in four exhibition outings while Jimenez's mark was less than a run lower in as many appearances. The good news is both get to start fresh in Game 2 of this set.
In the case of Jimenez, he's starting fresh with a new team after signing with Baltimore following 2½ seasons in Cleveland. The big Dominican bounced back from a slide in 2012 with a fine showing in 2013, helping the Tribe to the playoffs with a 13-9 record and 3.30 ERA. The bad news is his worst outing of the campaign came against these Red Sox who chased him in the second inning of an April start having already pushed seven runs across the plate.
Lackey also rebounded from a couple of bad seasons with the Red Sox, posting a 3.52 ERA in 29 regular season starts and starting three more eventual Boston postseason wins. He faced the O's four times, recording a 3.34 ERA overall and splitting his two starts at Camden Yards.
I'm going to get behind the boys from Beantown in this matchup with a free MLB pick on the Red Sox.My pick: Red Sox -106
Red Sox vs. Orioles Game 1
By: Willie Bee
Defending Major League Baseball World Champions. Kinda' has a nice ring to it, doncha' think?
Speaking of rings, the Boston Red Sox won't get their World Series rings until Friday when they host the Milwaukee Brewers in the first series of 2014 at Fenway Park, but defense of the 2013 MLB Championship begins Monday in Baltimore. Oriole Park at Camden Yards serves as the site and ESPN2's broadcast of the Opening Day festivities commences at 3 PM (ET).
Chris Tillman will take the mound in the top of the first for the Orioles while Boston sends veteran lefty Jon Lester to the bump. If you caught SBR's baseball odds when the first numbers went out, you know the Red Sox began as -115 chalk with 8.5 for the scoreboard hurdle.
Early action on the moneyline has been on Boston, boosting that number a few pennies; the total remains 8.5 with most betting outlets charging a bit more on the 'under.'
O's Have Dominated
Rivalry Last Two Seasons
The series between these franchises dates back to 1901 when the Boston Americans won 15 of 20 from the Milwaukee Brewers in the inaugural American League season. The Americans became the Red Sox in '08, while the one-hit wonder Brewers have moved twice since then with accompanying name changes, first as the St. Louis Browns from 1902-53 and the Baltimore Orioles from 1953 to present.
It's the 2nd-most played series in the AL with Monday's meeting the 2,139th. Boston has the 1,164-960 all-time -- edge plus 14 ties -- but it's the Orioles who have won 24 of the last 37, which includes an 11-4 run at Oriole Park since mid-2012.
Bettors taking the 'under' were winners in 2013, 11 of the 18 games failing to reach the mark along with one push. The final three games of the season between them in Baltimore each went past the total.
Mound Matchup Favors Baltimore
The MLB odds might favor Lester and the BoSox today, but performances over the past two seasons suggest it should be Tillman and the O's laying the chalk.
Boston is 1-6 vs. Baltimore with Lester on the hill since the start of the 2012 season, the southpaw's ERA at 4.50 in 42 innings of work during the seven starts. That ERA creeps up a bit to 4.76 in his last three assignments at Camden Yards, all of those coming in 2013. Lester did have one excellent start in Baltimore last July when he tossed the first seven frames of a 5-0 shutout win vs. Jason Hammel and the Birds.
Tillman, meanwhile, has been outstanding against Boston the past two seasons. His nine starts against this lineup have yielded six Baltimore wins with the righthander fashioning a 2.41 ERA. One of those victories came last August at Fenway Park opposite Lester (6 IP, 3 ER), Tillman tossing seven frames and striking out eight while allowing two runs.
Mother Nature, Final
Thoughts & A Free Pick
It would appear the weather is going to cooperate Monday with partly cloudy skies, an afternoon high in the low-60s and only a 20% chance of a passing shower in the Charm City area. However, wind is going a play a role in this afternoon's contest with the forecast calling for NW winds (in from left-center) around 20 MPH range and gusts as high as 30 MPH.
Tillman has had Boston's number the past couple of seasons while Lester struggled a bit vs. Baltimore. Their lone matchup a year ago was a dandy, and with the wind favoring the pitchers this afternoon in Baltimore, I'm liking the low side of the total for today's battle. Let's get the 2014 campaign started with a play on the 'under.' Make sure to check back Tuesday and Wednesday when we continue coverage of this 3-game set with previews and free MLB picks.My pick: Red Sox-Orioles Under 8.5 (-115)