Boston Red Sox vs. Baltimore Orioles – Matsuzaka vs. Cabrera

Boston Red Sox (72-53) -170, 9 at Baltimore Orioles (60-64), 7 pm Eastern Tuesday
by Zman of

The Boston Red Sox, still trying to chase down the Tampa Bay Rays in the American League’s Eastern Division, go for a second-straight win as they take on the Baltimore Orioles Tuesday night at Oriole Park.

Hardball bookies are listing the Red Sox and starting pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka (14-2, 2.74, 1.34 WHIP) as –170 road favorites for Tuesday’s game, with a total of 9, while the Orioles and Daniel Cabrera (8-7, 4.78, 1.48) are getting +155 as home underdogs.

Boston took the opener of this three-game series Monday night 6-3, breaking a mini two-game losing streak. Meanwhile, despite Monday’s loss, Baltimore has won four of its last six games.

So going into Tuesday’s action, the Sox are in second place in the AL East, 4 1/2 games back of the division-leading Rays, while the Orioles have fallen 16 games behind Tampa. But Boston still leads the AL wild-card race by a game and a half over the Minnesota Twins, while Baltimore is 11 1/2 games back of the Sox. All this as the field rounds the quarter pole.

Boston is 19 games above .500 this year, but only 29-35 on the road. The Sox are also 62-34 as favorites, and 63-62 vs. the run line.

Baltimore is four games under .500 this season, but 31-25 at Camden Yards. The O’s are also 36-51 as underdogs, and 69-55 vs. the run line.

The Sox have taken eight of 13 games from the Orioles so far this season, with the totals, going 5-3-5, as the games have averaged 9.8 total runs per.

Over his last three starts, including a winning performance vs. Texas last Thursday, Matsuzaka has allowed just three ER and 24 baserunners (hits + walks) in 21 IP. Boston is 17-4 in Dice-K’s starts this year, the totals 7-13.

Matsuzaka has started three games over his two MLB seasons vs. Baltimore, giving up nine ER and 26 BR in 15 2/3 IP. Boston lost two of those games, with the totals going 2-1.

Over his last three starts, including a mediocre showing vs. Cleveland last Thursday, Cabrera has given up nine ER and 26 BR in 17 2/3 IP. Baltimore is 14-11 in Cabrera’s starts this year, the totals 10-13.

Cabrera has started seven games this year and last vs. the Red Sox, and has been bopped around for 21 ER and 68 BR in 39 2/3 IP, less than six innings per start. The Orioles went 2-5 in those seven games, with the totals somehow going 1-5-1.

Offensively, Boston ranks 2nd in the majors this season in team BA at .280, 2nd in team OBP at .357, 4th in team slugging at .446, and is averaging 5.1 runs per game.

Baltimore ranks 8th in batting at .271, 12th in OBP at .338, 6th in slugging at .443, and is also averaging 5.1 RPG.

Over the last five games, the Boston bullpen has allowed 10 ER and 24 BR in 14 IP.

Over its’ last five games, the Baltimore pen has given up 10 ER and 36 BR in 20 1/3 IP.

On the injury/personnel front, Red Sox OF JD Drew is doubtful for Tuesday’s game after tweaking his back over the weekend. And 3B Mike Lowell is still on the DL with a strained oblique.

The totals are 56-60 in Sox games this year. Meanwhile, the o/us are 66-53 in Orioles games this year, and seven of their last nine games have gone over the totals, as hot Baltimore bats and cold O arms have helped those nine games average a healthy 14.8 total runs.

And the totals are 28-23 in games played at Orioles Park this year, which are averaging 10.5 total runs, 4th-most among all ML ballparks.

Zman’s Pick: We like the Orioles as a big underdog here!