Boston Red Sox +150 @ Tampa Bay Rays -160 (Total: 8 )
BOS: A. Miller (3-0, 3.57) vs.: D. Price (8-7, 3.70)
The Red Sox traditionally get about a half-dozen extra home games each year with their visit to the Trop and the 10,000+ Red Sox fans that pack the usually semi-vacant stadium. However, things have changed a bit the past three years. The Sox Nation still shows up en masse, but the Rays are no longer the 100-loss gracious hosts of years past.
The rays have won 5 of their last 9 against Boston at home and have a winning record (3-2) against them so far this season. The series is a pivotal one for the Rays who are trying to stay in the race in the daunting AL East. Aiding their cause tonight will be starting pitcher and ace, David Price.
Price’s 8-7 record is nothing to impressive, nor is his team’s 11-8 record with him on the hill, however his 1.08 WHIP is a more telling indicator of the quality effort Price has delivered. His last three starts have been mediocre; posting a 0-1 record and an ERA approaching five.
For Boston, they’ll begin the second half of the season with youngster Andrew Miller making just his fifth start. He enters with an impressive 3-0 record and has looked confident and sharp in each outing. The Sox are 21-7 in their last 28 road games, and 8-1 in their last 9 Friday contests. Tampa has been playing decent ball, but the real trend for the Rays is in finishing UNDER the total; they’ve done so at a 41-12-2 clip over their past 55 games.
My play here is a value-driven one. Despite the “name” discrepancy, the pitching matchup is a fairly even one, and the lineup edge goes clearly to Boston. That makes getting them at +150 a fairly attractive proposition.
San Francisco Giants -150 @ San Diego Padres +130 (TOTAL: 6)
T. Lincecum (7-7, 3.06) vs. D. Moseley (2-8, 3.21)
At first blush, it looks like a total mismatch – the defending World Champs sending their two-time Cy Young winning pitcher to the mound to face a last-place ball club… but if you look a little deeper at the numbers and trends, we might have a potential opportunity for a sneaky value play.
San Diego hurler Dustin Mosley sports a pretty depressing 2-8 record, yet his ERA is only 0.15 higher than Lincecum’s. The WHIP differential is even closer at just 0.09 (1.20 to 1.29). The Giants hold a slim 4-3 advantage head-to-head this season; with last night’s Giants win breaking the deadlock.
My point is; this isn’t the massive mismatch it appears from a distance. I am not sure the Padres are going to be able to scratch out too many runs against Lincecum, but the total of 6 is certainly just begging wagerers to play the OVER. After last night’s ugly offensive performance, I’d be reluctant to do so.
Yes, Lincecum has been much better of late, posting a 2.04 ERA over his last five starts, but I’m looking more at the value at +130 of the Padres tonight, and making that my official pick.