In: MLB Free Picks17 Aug 2011
Chris Hodge, Free Picks Newsletter Editor
233-133-2 of last 368
MLB: Tampa Bay Rays (+103) vs. Boston Red Sox (-113) *Over/Under (9u -110)
Offensive production for the Boston Red Sox has been down over the past few weeks, and that could be bad news for John Lackey, their scheduled starter today against the Tampa Bay Rays.
In yesterday’s double header against the Rays, the Red Sox scored just five runs and split the day-nighter with Tampa. Just five runs? I say that because the Sox are the Major League leader in runs scored, and they average slightly more than five runs per game.
The Rays have scored more than five runs six times over the past two weeks, including the six they hung on the Sox yesterday.
A look at the games Lackey has recently started reveals one common pattern. Lackey has won six of his last seven starts, but the wins aren’t the type he will ultimately tell his grandchildren about. The only reason Lackey has won six of his last seven starts is the Red Sox offense has out-slugged the opponent.
In Lackey’s six wins, the Red Sox have pushed 48 runs across the plate. In those games opponents have scored 23 times.
Lackey’s ERA has been holding steady between six and seven for most of the season. Against the Rays today, he’ll live up to his billed average.
David Price of the Rays has had the opposite problem in his recent starts. He’s pitched well, but the Rays simply haven’t scored enough runs to get the win. In his last outing against the New York Yankees, he held the Bombers to just one run, and the Rays took the game 5-1. It was Price’s first win since his last start against Boston July 15 in which the Rays won 9-6.
Price allowed just three runs in six innings in that game, and all three of those runs came from home runs. As all baseball fans know, the best kind of home run to give up is a solo home run.
Price should be able to keep the “slumping” Red Sox offense down just enough, for the Rays to take advantage of the overly generous John Lackey.
Pick: Take the Tampa Bay Rays (+103)