American League contenders will duke it out in MLB Picks action on Tuesday night on the MLB Network, when the Texas Rangers face the Boston Red Sox at historic Fenway Park.
The Rangers are going to be in good shape for the rest of this year, but if they are going to compete in the playoffs and get to the World Series for the third straight year, they are going to need a heck of a lot of help out of Ryan Dempster. They traded for Dempster right at the 11th hour of the trade deadline, but he really didn’t make the greatest debut in the world five days ago versus the Los Angeles Angels. Dempster was lit up for eight runs and nine hits in 4.2 innings of work, but his team rallied around him for a 15-9 victory. Believe it or not, Dempster only has a 5-5 record this year from his time with the Cubs, and it feels like he is ready for a brutal march in the wrong direction with his new team. Dempster has now allowed 15 runs in his last 16.2 innings of work, and that isn’t going to cut it for the rest of this year, especially when he is really needed in the postseason.
Is the season over for the Red Sox? We aren’t quite at that point yet, but it is clear that without making a move at the trade deadline, they aren’t committed to getting to the playoffs. Boston is just 55-55 right now and only has 52 games left to make its move. It is 4.5 games back of the Baltimore Orioles, who are in second place in the AL East, and it is five back of the Halos, who are the second Wild Card right now. The time is here for Jon Lester to really step it up for the boys from Beantown. He was a Cy Young contender in 2010 after going 19-9, had a great season at 15-9 last year, but now, he is 5-9 and is having the worst year of his career. The southpaw has a 5.36 ERA, but he is really a bit more unlucky right now than bad. A 1.41 WHIP should be a bit lower, and batters really shouldn’t be hitting .283 against him when they are only batting .250 against him for his career. Over the course of the last five starts though, Lester has allowed an outrageous 29 runs in 26.1 innings, including allowing 11 runs and four homers against the Toronto Blue Jays a couple of starts ago.
Lester really should be favored tonight, and we like the fact that he is. Boston is probably a good enough team to get the job done in this one, and we just don’t see how Dempster is going to go on the road and get the job done. Boston 7 – Texas 5