Josh Hamilton has been a valuable asset for the Texas Rangers since coming back to town. It was no bigger than what he did yesterday in their series finale against the Boston Red Sox. Down 3-2 in the bottom of the 9th, Hamilton connected on a double to plate 2 runs for the Rangers to complete a big comeback win. The Red Sox are pretty solid with their bullpen when they get that late in games, but the Rangers were able to exploit it and win to sweep the Red Sox in their weekend series. If Prince Fielder can revert back to being Prince Fielder, Shin-Soo Choo continues to trend up, and Josh Hamilton plays like this then the Rangers will have a great offensive punch. Overall, though, their starting rotation still needs to get some healthy bodies back to be a competitor. They aren’t going to go very far without some reliability from the pitching staff. Wandy pitched well yesterday, but that was against an anemic Red Sox offense and he isn’t the guy you want to be your top guy deep in the season. We look for another winning pick today, which features the Boston Red Sox once again.
Like I just mentioned, the Red Sox offense has been in disrepair. It is amazing how this team bops around from being great one year to looking a losing team the next. Mind you, there is still plenty of time to go in this season, but David Ortiz batting .223 with only 6 dingers isn’t getting it done for the Red Sox at the moment. He had a couple of chances to blow the game open yesterday, but came up short in that department. I’d be surprised if he goes all season without going on some kind of a tear, but until then I think the Red Sox are going to find it tough offensively.
If you were to venture a guess, if you weren’t aware already, who is 1st in the AL Central who would you choose? If your first guess was the Detroit Tigers then guess again. If your second guess was the Kansas City Royals you’re off once again. The Minnesota Twins in fact own the 1st place spot in the AL Central. By seasons end is it going to be like that? By just taking a stab at it I don’t believe so. The Tigers have some things to work out, but I think it’ll be a race between them and the Royals. We’ll see though, the Twins were part of the equation a few years ago and may be this year late in the season as well. Mike Pelfrey will get the start for the Twins tonight, who has been a reliable option lately in the starting rotation for them lately. The Red Sox counter with Clay Buchholz.
Boston Red Sox vs. Minnesota Twins
Clay Buchholz (2-6, 4.33 ERA) vs. Mike Pelfrey (4-1, 2.77 ERA)
Mike Pelfrey has been a welcome surprise of late for the Twins. You aren’t going to find him in any Cy Young race, but as far as the Twins are concerned, he’s been a bit of the X factor for them and a reason why they are 1st in the division. Now he gets the Red Sox who have been finding it difficult to generate much on offense. Pelfrey comes into tonight with an ERA of 2.77 and has looked impressive in his most recent starts. In his last two starts he allowed a run in each, for a total of 10 hits allowed in total. Pelfrey went five straight outings this season allowing less than three runs before he allowed 4 three starts ago. However, he bounced back nicely with those two starts. His last start was actually against the Red Sox, where he gave up that single run.
Buchholz had a record 2013 with a 1.74 ERA, but since then the wheels fell off. It hasn’t really been until recent starts that his old stuff from 2013 has been showcased. He has strung together four good starts in a row, and in his last three has excellent numbers, with a 1.99 ERA and 0.79 WHIP. He was great in his last start against the opposing team, like Pelfrey. In this respect, Buchholz gave up 2 runs against the Twins. Note that the wind is supposed to be blowing in from the outfield at game time. This isn’t going to be the most popular pick on the card for most people tonight, but I am going to lock it in on the UNDER 8.5.
PICK: UNDER 8.5 RUNS (-105)