Boston Red Sox vs. Seattle Mariners Preview and Pick – Lester vs. Washburn

Boston Red Sox (57-43) -140, 9 at Seattle Mariners (38-60), 10 pm Eastern Monday
by Zman of

One team fighting for first place in its division takes on another team already playing out the string when the Boston Red Sox begin a three-game series with the Seattle Mariners Monday night at Safeco Field.

Hardball bookies are listing Boston and starting pitcher Jon Lester (7-3, 3.38) as 140 road favorites for Monday’s game, with a total of 9, while Seattle and Jarrod Washburn (4-8, 4.83) are getting +130 as home underdogs.

Boston just got swept three games by the Angels in Anaheim, getting outscored 20-8, while the Mariners dropped two of three to Cleveland. So going into this week’s play, the Red Sox are in second place in the AL East, a game-and-a-half back of the division-leading Tampa Bay Rays, while the M’s are mired in last place in the AL West, 22 games behind the first-place Los Angeles Angels.

Boston is 21-32 on the road this year, 48-26 as favorites, and 48-52 vs. the run line.

Seattle is 20-29 at home this season, 22-36 as dogs, and 45-52 vs. the run line.

These two teams have split six games so far this season, with the totals going 1-5, as the games have averaged just 6.8 total runs per. Last year, the Mariners took the season series from the Sox five games to four, with the totals going 6-3, as the games averaging 10.6 total runs per.

Over his last three starts, including most recently a poor showing vs. Minnesota two weeks ago, Lester has allowed 11 ER and 28 baserunners (hits + walks) in 21 1/3 IP. Boston is 13-7 in Lester’s starts this year, the totals 7-11.

Lester made one start vs. the Mariners last year, giving up four ER and 10 BR in five IP.

Over his last three starts, including a quality performance vs. Kansas City nine days ago, Washburn has given up seven ER and 24 BR in 20 IP. Seattle is 5-13 in Washburn’s starts this year, the totals 8-10.

Washburn started once vs. the Red Sox last year, allowing four ER and 10 BR in 6 1/3 IP.

Offensively, Boston ranks 2nd in the majors this season in team BA at .280, in team OBP at .355 and in team slugging at .448, and is averaging 5.0 runs per game.

Seattle ranks 20th in batting at .256, dead last in OBP at .313, 28th in slugging at .374, and is averaging 4.0 RPG.

Over the last five games, the Boston bullpen has allowed eight ER and 20 BR in 13 1/3 IP.

Over its’ last five games, the M’s pen has given up six ER and 24 BR in 21 2/3 IP.

On the personnel front, Boston slugger David Ortiz is still on the DL with a wrist injury.

The totals are 44-48 in Red Sox games this year, 43-49 in Mariners games, and 23-25 in games played at Safeco Field, which are averaging 8.3 total runs this season.

Zman’s Pick: The Mariners are really struggling right now. Take the Red Sox at the nice price.