Sunday Night Baseball Picks: Chicago Cubs vs. Boston Red Sox Preview 5/22/11
This is the first time in almost 100 years that the Boston Red Sox and the Chicago Cubs met at Fenway Park. On Sunday Night Baseball betting action on Sunday, these two will meet in their rubber match after splitting the first two games in this series.
Give the Cubbies some credit for fighting back in this series yesterday, plating nine runs against a helpless Alfredo Aceves and company. The problem that they have on Sunday is that they have basically run out of pitchers. Matt Garza was the scheduled man on the bump on Sunday, but he has a stiff arm and was taken out of the fold. That means that James Russell is going to have to step into the fold, something that Manager Mike Quade really didn’t want to do since he is already dealing with a slew of arms on the disabled list. And we can certainly understand why he doesn’t want Russell throwing again on Sunday since he threw three innings in relief on Friday night. The good news is that he did toss three scoreless frames in what amounted to be his best outing of the year, but when push comes to shove, he is still just 1-4 with a 6.26 ERA this year. Batters are hitting .309 against him, and that’s after allowing just two hits on Friday night. The bullpen has already been used and abused in this series as well, so it could be a long, long game for the Cubs.
Not that Boston isn’t in the same type of a position right now… Manager Terry Francona is already without two of his normal starters in the rotation, but his pleasant news is that he can plug in the ageless wonder, Tim Wakefield into the fold for a spot start whenever he is needed. Wakefield is just seven wins short of 200 in his career (of course, he’s only 27 losses short of 200 as well), and on this season, he has already made two spot starts in 11 appearances. He is 0-1 with a 5.40 ERA and 23.1 innings of work, numbers of which are nowhere near flattering to say the least. He hasn’t pitched in 11 days, not that it matters all that much considering the fact that he throws a knuckleball almost 100% of the time. Wakefield has started twice this year with varying degrees of success. He allowed eight runs, six of which were earned on May 6th against the Minnesota Twins. Five days before that though, he held the Seattle Mariners to one run and three hits in 5.2 innings.
Chicago Cubs vs. Boston Red Sox Pick: We’d really like to see Wakefield get to 200 wins in his career, but we just aren’t so sure that it is going to happen. However, he’ll take one more step in the right direction today, coming up with a decent start against a swing happy Chicago team. Russell, on essentially just one day’s rest, isn’t lasting all that long, and the rest of the bullpen isn’t going to be able to cut it. Go with the Red Sox -140.