Boston Red Sox vs. Cleveland Indians Game Preview and Pick – Line – Total

Boston Red Sox (35-26) Jon Lester, at Cleveland Indians (22-36)
Mitch Talbot, Progressive Field, Cleveland, Ohio, 7:05 PM EST,
Thursday, June 10th, 2010

by Badger of

Betting Line: Red Sox -210/Indians +190
Total: 9

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A pair of seven-game winners will duel on the bump in the finale of
the Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Indians four-game series Thursday at Progressive Field, when Sox lefty Jon Lester goes for his eighth win
in a row while Indians right-hander Mitch Talbot tries for his eighth
in anonymity.

The Indians finally broke the Red Sox seven-game winning streak they had over them in a big way last night, busting out with an 8-run
eighth inning behind a two-hit shutout of Justin Masterson in an 11-0
victory. There was also a Travis Hafner sighting at Progressive last
night, as the DH that has fallen off the planet in recent years hit a
grand slam in the Tribes big eighth frame.

Now that the monkey is off the backs of the Indians they can still
get a split of the four-game set and continue to reverse the Red Sox
dominance over the Tribe in recent years (Red Sox are 14-4 vs.
Cleveland since 2008) with their most reliable starter on the mound
in Talbot.

But that will be a tough task as the Red Sox are surging with a 16-6
record since the middle of May, including nine of their last 11 on
the road. Boston also hands the ball to their most reliable starter
in Lester, who is 7-0 with a 1.29 ERA and has only allowed opponents
a .157 average since April 18th (nine starts) while the Sox are a
solid 8-4 in his 12 starts this season.

Oddsmakers opened the betting odds on this game with the Red Sox as
heavy -200 favorites on the overnight line, and the steam at the
window has made just about every sportsbook on the Web move it up to
-210 with some as high as -220 in favor of Lester and the road Sox.
That makes Talbot and the Indians a tempting underdog at home since
they are listed anywhere from +195 to +175 depending on whether or
not you bet at a book with reduced juice or dimelines.

The over/under total is all over the map, with it being listed as low
as 7.5 at (-155 on the over) to 8.5 at a few other
offshore sportsbooks.

Since weve already gone over how well Lester has been pitching
lately, lets look at the often overlooked Talbot, who is also
pitching well of late. Talbot was great his last time out (7 IP, 6 H,
1 R in 3-1 win over White Sox), was solid in a loss to the Yankees
the outing before (6.1 IP, 9 H, 3 R) and overall has solid numbers
(7-4, 1.29 WHIP, .325 OBP).

If it werent for Lester and his brilliance of late the young Talbot might not be such a heavy dog tonight at home, where his sinker seems
to have more sink (1.93 GB:FB, .321 OBP).

But Lester isnt just hot, hes also 3-0 in his six career starts
versus the Indians with a 3.89 ERA and the Red Sox are a perfect 6-0
in those starts. The only negative in Lesters armor tonight is the
fact hes gotten slapped around a little in Progressive Field despite
all those wins, with gosh-awful splits (1.714 WHIP, .397 OBP, .881
OPS) that make you cringe when you have to lay so much juice on the

The Red Sox offense was held scoreless for the first time all year
last night, so expect a bounce back game tonight from Kevin Youkilis
(.429 in June) and the boys from Fenway. Youkilis has homered and
doubled against Talbot in the past.

The over is 12-3 at Progressive Field in the Indians last 15 home games. The over is also 7-3 in Lesters last 10 starts as a road
favorite, and 6-0 in the Indians last six starts versus a lefty, so
the over has a pretty strong betting trend going for it tonight.

Badgers Pick: At -210 its a little too juicy for me to risk on
Boston tonight, even though I think they win easily. Im staying with
the trend and taking the over of 8.5 tonight.