Boston Red Sox vs. Minnesota Twins Preview and Pick – Lester vs. Bonser

Boston Red Sox (23-14) -125, o/u 9 at Minnesota Twins (17-16), 8:10 pm Eastern Friday
by Zman of

First place in the East meets first place in the Central when the Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins commence a four-game series Friday night at the Metrodome in Minneapolis.

Baseball Bookies are listing Boston and starting pitcher Jon Lester (2-2, 3.94, 1.49 WHIP) as -125 road chalk for Friday’s game, with a total of 9, while Minnesota and starter Boof Bonser (2-4, 4.29, 1.24) are getting +110 as home dogs.

The Red Sox just took three of four games from the Tigers in Detroit this week, and have won eight of their last 10 games. So going into this weekend’s action, Boston leads the AL East by 3 games over the second-place Tampa Bay Rays.

Meanwhile, the Twins just dropped two of three games to the Chicago White Sox. Still, Minnesota has won seven of its last 10, and leads the AL Central by a game over the ChiSox.

This is the first meeting between these two teams this season. Last year, Boston took the season series four games to three, with the o/u going 1-6, as the games averaged just 6.1 total runs per.

This season, the Sox are 9-9 on the road, 18-10 as favorites but 16-21 vs. the run line. On the other side of this match-up, the Twins are 11-6 at home this year, 10-13 as underdogs and 18-15 vs. the run line.

Lester, over his last three starts, which includes a good performance in a 7-3 win over Tampa Sunday, has allowed five ER and 23 baserunners (hits + walks) in 19 IP. Boston is 5-3 in Lester’s starts this year, the o/u 2-6.

Lester has never started a regular-season game vs. Minnesota.

Over his three most recent starts, which includes an iffy outing in a 7-6 win over Detroit Sunday, Bonser has given up eight ER and 22 BR in 19 IP. The Twins are 3-4 in Bonser’s starts this season, the o/u also 3-4.

Bonser started one game vs. the Red Sox last year, allowing three ER and eight BR in five IP of a 5-4 Minnesota victory.

On the offensive side of things, Boston leads the majors in team batting average at .290, ranks 3rd in team OBP at .364, 4th in team slugging at .446 and is averaging 5.1 runs per game. And the Red Sox have scored 51 runs over their last seven games.

Meanwhile, the Twins rank 9th in team batting at .264, 27th in OBP at .309, 24th in slugging at .373, and are averaging 4.2 RPG.

The Boston bullpen has given up seven ER and 21 BR over its last five games, covering 14 2/3 IP, while the Minnesota pen has allowed five ER and 25 BR over its last five games, covering 16 innings of work.

The o/u is 17-18 in Red Sox games this year, which are averaging 9.3 total runs per, while the totals are 16-17 in Twins games, which are averaging 8.6 runs. Also, the o/u is 6-11 in games played at the Metrodome this year, which are averaging just 6.9 total runs per, after averaging 8.3 runs last year.

Zman’s Pick: I like the Twins to win tonight.