Boston Red Sox -128 at Cleveland Indians +118 (Total: 9)
Felix Doubront (10-5, 4.56 ERA) vs. Ubaldo Jimenez (8-11, 5.29 ERA)
The Cleveland Indians mercifully snapped their eleven-game losing streak last night with their 6-2 win over the Minnesota Twins, but that was only a temporary Band-Aid placed on the flesh-wound that has become Cleveland’s season. What began as a promising summer evaporated quickly, and along with it, the city’s enthusiasm for the team. I was in attendance Tuesday night for their error-filled, ninth-inning collapse loss, and let me tell you the people that WERE there (couldn’t have been more than about 10,000 by the 9th inning) weren’t just disappointed – they were almost numb. Rather than cascades of booing, there was instead almost a feeling of apathetic acceptance that, yep, this team really stinks.
The Boston Red Sox know a thing or two about a fan base resigned to failure, albeit a much more fervently passionate one. These two backsliding teams collide tonight in the first game of a four-game set that might be a bit of a final ‘last stand’ for the respective reeling ballclubs.
Boston enters at just 55-57, a full ten games out of the AL East lead and an ever-widening five and half games back in the wildcard race (and trailing seven teams…) They have lost six of their last eight games and given up a whopping 46 runs in them; nearly six runs per contest. Their starting pitching has struggled, their bullpen has struggled; it’s just ugly right now in Bean Town.
Not that Cleveland has been much better. Granted some of their pitcher’s runs have been un earned, but they are still allowing to cross the plate at a huge clip. During their eleven game losing streak, they gave up a staggering 95 runs; which equates to more than 8 ½ per game. Adding these two teams average allowances of late, this line could be reasonably set at 14.5.
Of course it is not. That would be ridiculous. But not any more ridiculous than tonight’s meager runline of 9. Considering that both starting pitchers have ERA’s in the high-fours, and WHIPS averaging 1.70, and both have been even worse of late. Doubront has a 6.61 ERA and a WHIP of 1.96 over his last three starts and Jimenez is slightly better at 5.60 ERA and 1.62 WHIP. Either way, add them up, factor in the shaky defense of Cleveland and the battered bullpen of the Sox and I think it is fair to expect some runs to dent the plate tonight.
It makes the nine total seem awfully low, and a little too good to pass up. Give me the OVER and enjoy some fireworks tonight!
Free Pick: Run Total OVER 9 (-110)