Moneyline: Red Sox (-180)
Starting Pitchers: Angels (Santana) vs. Red Sox (Beckett)
The Angels have been getting some terrific starting pitching this year, but they are being tested in a big way by the strong Red Sox lineup. The Red Sox dealt Jered Weaver his first loss of the year on Monday night. The Red Sox are still below .500, but this team is certainly starting to play some better baseball. Everyone in the league knows Boston is better than their record at this point. Can Beckett continue his impressive start?
Ervin Santana will take the hill for the Angels in this one. Santana started against the Red Sox a couple weeks ago and Boston hit him around quite a bit. Santana allowed five earned runs in seven innings in that first meeting. The Angels are just 1-7 in their last eight games in Boston overall, so they’ll need to do something a little different in this one. The strength of this Angels team has been their starting pitching. They have gotten more quality starts than any other team in the majors. Offensively the Angels have been mediocre. Torii Hunter is batting just .237 and Vernon Wells is hitting only .172 so far this season.
The Red Sox have gotten solid starts from Josh Beckett so far this year, and they hope he continues his impressive rebound from a poor year in 2010. As a team, Boston isn’t hitting the ball the way they have been expected to hit. Carl Crawford has slumped all season long. They definitely need Crawford’s speed on the bases to cause problems for the opposition. Kevin Youkilis has good power numbers, but he isn’t hitting for average like he normally does. Adrian Gonzalez has been heating up of late, and you have to think guys like Pedroia, Youkilis, Ellsbury, and Drew will start hitting the ball soon. This is still a very dangerous offense.
While Beckett has pitched well so far this year, the Red Sox are just 2-7 in his last nine starts against the Angels. Santana isn’t very good on the road, and this lineup is improving by the day. I like the over.
MLB Free Pick: Angels/Red Sox over 8.5
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