Orioles vs. Red Sox 3
By: Willie Bee
The Boston Red Sox are paying over $40 million to the top four pitchers in their starting rotation this season, John Lackey's $15.25 million topping the list. It took the No. 5 arm making less than $600K to stop the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday, however, ending their 3-game win streak to even up the series in Beantown.
Baltimore will look to start a new streak while Boston aims to extend its run to two when ESPN trains its cameras on the clubs for Sunday Night Baseball (7 PM ET). The Orioles are sending Ubaldo Jimenez to the hill at Fenway Park for the affair, and the Red Sox counter with Jake Peavy.
MLB odds started with the Red Sox chalked at -165 along with a 9 run total for scoreboard bettors. We're starting to see some 8.5 totals after overnight trading, and several shops are listing the mid-150s for their moneyline.
Offense Goes Limp For
O's In Game 2
Baltimore managed just five hits against Felix Doubront and a pair of relievers on Saturday, Adam Jones' 2-out double in the sixth the only extra-base knock in the 4-2 setback. The Orioles have been experiencing a lack of power all season, their nine homers only better than Kansas City and a .345 slugging percentage the third-lowest in the American League.
That will need to change Sunday in order to support Jimenez if his early-season form continues. The lanky righthander has lost each of his previous assignments and carries a 7.31 ERA into the Game 3 matchup.
One of those defeats came at the hands of the Red Sox in the second game of the season for both clubs, Jimenez allowing the first four Boston runs to score during his six innings of work in the 6-2 loss. He has now lost three of his last four assignments vs. the Beantown 9, the Sox plating 21 over the course of those 18 innings.
Red Sox Look For 5th
Win In Last 6 Games
Give Doubront credit for a job well-done on Saturday. Nelson Cruz's two singles, one of them of the infield variety, plated the only two runs for the Orioles and he struck out seven before turning things over the bullpen. Junichi Tazawa vultured the win while Koji Uehara picked up his fourth save of the campaign.
Peavy remains winless -- with the Red Sox losing two of his three starts -- despite a splendid 1.93 ERA. He has walked 10 in his first 18.2 innings, which is a bit disconcerting, but Peavy has balanced that with 20 strikeouts.
He missed the Orioles when the clubs met a couple of weeks ago, and has seen them just two times in the last three seasons. Peavy's lone appearance vs. Baltimore last season came in Boston near the end of the campaign, and he struck out eight in seven innings for a no-decision in the O's 12-inning victory.
The Red Sox get my nod with this free MLB pick, and I like 'em so much that I'm going to knock some of that juice off with a run-line play.
My pick: Red Sox -1.5 (+125)
Season: 18-15 (+2.15)
Orioles vs. Red Sox 2
By: Willie Bee
There wasn't a lot of flash in the boxscore for the player I'd have given the game ball to in Friday's series opener between the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles. But Darren O'Day's performance out of the O's bullpen still stood out.
Baltimore secured an 8-4 win as a result, and the Orioles will be going for their fourth consecutive win Saturday when the teams square off for a 1:35 PM (ET) start.
The Red Sox are -140 favorites to even the set behind southpaw Felix Doubront while the Orioles counter with Bud Norris. That moneyline is up from a -125 start to the proceedings, but SBR's live baseball odds show the 9 run total holding firm, some shops taxing the 'under' a bit more.
Showalter Sticks With
O'Day For Final Four Outs
Baltimore's lineup kept spraying singles around Fenway Park on Friday, 11 of them to be exact, and scored five of its eight runs off the 1-base hits. The final run in the ninth allowed manager Buck Showalter to leave O'Day on the hill to coax the final four outs, and the sidearm slinger got the job done to allow regular closer Tommy Hunter an extra night off.
Norris is coming off a very strong performance against Toronto a week ago, tossing seven scoreless innings and allowing only five hits to the Blue Jays. He left the game with the lead, but was relegated to a no-decision when the O's lost the advantage before coming back with an extra-inning win.
The beefy Californian faced the Red Sox twice in 2013, once with the Orioles and the other while still with the Astros. Both starts came at Fenway Park, one in which he took a beating (6 IP, 5 R) and the other a much better performance (5.1 IP, 1 R).
Sox Fall Back Into AL East Basement
John Lackey's second straight rough outing combined with Tampa Bay's big win over the Yankees to drop Boston into the basement of the AL East. The defeat also left the Sox just 2-5 at home so far, and 3-5 vs. division rivals.
Control has been part of Doubront's troubles in the early going, the lefty issuing seven free passes in less than 15 innings. That is up from his average in 2013 (3.9 BB/9), and is coupled with his strikeout percentage dropping close to 40%.
He's actually coming off his best start of 2014, albeit in a losing effort last Sunday in New York against the Yankees. Doubront will be looking for the same end result as his season debut in Baltimore a little more than two weeks ago, a 4-3 Boston victory in which he pitched into the sixth to record the dubya.
The weatherman is promising a sunny afternoon in Beantown, but he's also calling on a pretty stiff 15-20 mph wind from the northwest (left to right) that could shift around to the north as the game progresses. That could be an advantage for Norris who is normally a fly ball pitcher.
Couple that with this being the second time for the O's to see Doubront in the first couple of weeks of the season, and it leads me to liking Baltimore once again for my free MLB pick.
My pick: Orioles +125
Season: 17-14 (+2.05)
Orioles vs. Red Sox 1
By: Willie Bee
One way or another, a modest 2-game win streak is about to end for either the Baltimore Orioles of Boston Red Sox.
The AL East rivals collide in Boston this weekend for a 4-game series that will culminate with an early morning tee-off Monday in the Red Sox's annual Patriot's Day tilt. Friday's opener is scheduled for a 7:10 PM (ET) start with John Lackey on the bump for the Sox against Baltimore's Chris Tillman.
SBRs live MLB odds has Boston favored in the mid-130s with an 8 run total that leans 'under' at a few shops.
It's the second series between the AL East foes this season, the Red Sox taking two of three in Baltimore to begin the schedule, all three of those contests falling short of 8.5 and 9 run totals. The Sox now have a 1,166-961 all-time record vs. the Orioles, dating to when the Charm City crew played in both Milwaukee and St. Louis.
The O's won five of the nine games played in Boston last season, and are 15-7 at Fenway Park going back to Sept. 2011. 'Under' bettors enjoyed cashing seven of the nine in Beantown in 2013, including the last five matchups.
Birds Begin 7-Game Roadie in Boston
Baltimore (7-7 straight up, +0.4 units) took Thursday off after hosting the Blue Jays and Rays the past week, going 3-2 on that rain-shortened homestand to give the Orioles five wins in their last seven trips to the diamond. This wraparound series in Boston starts a 7-game road trip for the Birds that ends next week in Toronto.
Tillman has allowed all of two earned runs in his three starts, only to have a 1-1 record show for his effort. The no-decision he picked up came against the Red Sox on Opening Day, Baltimore eventually grabbing the 2-1 victory after Tillman left the mound to leave the Orioles 7-3 in his 10 assignments vs. Boston since the beginning of 2012.
Of Tillman's six starts against the Sox last season, two came with Lackey opposing him. Tillman won the first meeting at Baltimore in July, tossing the first seven innings of a 6-0 O's triumph. Lackey came out on top in the rematch at Boston in September, a 3-1 Red Sox decision in which Tillman went seven and surrendered all three runs.
BoSox Rebound From
Poor Start To Road Trip
Boston (7-9, -4.5) is returning home following visits to the Yankees and White Sox, beginning the trip 1-4 before bouncing back with a pair of wins in Chicago.
In addition to the two times Lackey faced Tillman a season ago, he made two other starts vs. the Orioles and the Red Sox won them both. All told, Lackey worked 29.2 innings against the O's in 2013, fashioning a 3.34 ERA and allowing six homers.
The righthander picked up his first victory of 2014 in Baltimore during the season-opening series, and followed that with an excellent performance against Texas five days later (7 IP, 1 R). But Lackey ran into trouble in his most recent appearance, taking the defeat last Saturday in New York where the Yankees took him deep four times to account for all six of the runs they scored against him before he was relieved in the sixth.
The weather report looks pretty good for the weekend, at least as far as any rain in the forecast. It's going to be a bit chilly in Beantown on Friday, with Lackey's first pitch coming in the low-40s before things warm up a bit the next few days.
I like Tillman's history against the Red Sox, along with Baltimore manager Buck Showalter having a rested bullpen in Game 1. My free MLB pick is on the underdog O's.
My pick: Orioles +120
Season: 16-13 (+2.05)