Texas Rangers (CJ Wilson) vs. Boston Red Sox (clay Buchholz) Preview and Pick – Betting Line

Texas Rangers (5-9) C.J. Wilson, at Boston Red Sox (6-9) Clay
Buchholz, Fenway Park, Boston, Mass., 7:10 PM EST, Thursday, April
22nd, 2010

by Badger of Predictem.com

Betting Line: Rangers +135/Red Sox -145
Total: 9

The Boston Red Sox have stolen the first two games of their three
games series off of the Texas Rangers bullpen, so on Thursday they
will go for the sweep when they send right-hander Clay Buchholz out
to the mound to face the Rangers young lefty C.J. Wilson.

One night after the Red Sox rallied for three runs in the final two
innings off of Rangers relievers Darren Oliver and Frank Francisco
for a come-from-behind 7-6 win, the Sox won it in walkoff fashion
last night when Kevin Youkilis doubled in the winning run in the
bottom of the 11th for an 8-7 victory.

Both losses were especially hard on the Rangers since theyve been
forced to use their bullpen for 11 innings in the series so far,
including three different pitchers in Tuesdays game and five more in
last nights loss. The Sox bullpen on the other hand has only been
forced to eat 8 innings, but Hideki Okajima and Jonathan Papelbon
were used in both games so they will likely be unavailable in the
finale tonight.

When the overnight line was released last night the Red Sox and
Buchholz were listed as -145 favorites on the moneyline, but a few
online sportsbooks have moved the number to -150 or -155 as bettors
seem to be wagering against the Rangers and their paper-thin bullpen.
Texas with Wilson on the bump are +140 on the dimeline at 5Dimes and the 9-cent line at Pinnacle Sportsbook, but a large majority of the other books list them as +135 or +125 underdogs.

The over/under total opened at 9 and has held firm during early wagering.

Wilson will have to bail out his taxed bullpen tonight with a long
outing, which he is capable of doing since hes gone at least six
innings in both of his starts this year. Hed probably last longer if
the offense would give him some support, as the Rangers have only
scored two runs total in both of his starts (a 3-1 loss to Tor.; a
5-1 loss to the Yankees).

Wilson has never made a start against the Red Sox, but he has made 12
appearances in relief over the years. Theyve been erratic at best,
with 10 walks, five hits and three runs in just 10.2 innings pitched.
His experiences at Fenway have been worse, as hes tossed three of
those innings in Bostons famous park and the results have been ugly
(2.333 WHIP, .467 OBP, 3 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 5 BB).

New Red Sox third baseman Adrian Beltre should be able to give his
teammates a good scouting report on the young lefty, as Beltre is 4-
for-10 with a double and a homerun against the former AL West rival.
Dustin Pedroia is also 2-for-2 with a double.

When Buchholz trots out to the bump to throw the first pitch it will
be his third start against the Rangers, as hes 1-1 so far (10 IP, 11
H, 3 R) with a rather high WHIP (1.50), on-base percentage (.356) and
OPS (.731) against the Rangers. Those numbers are almost a mirror
image of the rightys numbers so far in 2010, as he is 1-1 with a
1.60 WHIP and .348 on-base percentage in his two starts thus far.

Buchholz did face them last season, a game that turned into a 3-1
loss when he was outdueled by Dustin Nippert in mid-July.

The Rangers offense has the potential to break out tonight too, as a
plethora of players in the everyday lineup have had some success
against him in the past. Vladimir Guerrero (4-for-9), David Murphy (3-
for-4) and Michael Young (.667 OBP) have all done well in limited
samples, and slugger Nelson Cruz is perfect in his two plate
appearances as well (BB, 1B) but he may not play tonight due to a
sore hamstring.

The Red Sox have already reversed their fortunes against the Rangers this season, having already won the series with last nights
victory. Last season Texas took two of three at Fenway, and they
also won seven of the nine head-to-head games, so the Sox have to be
happy with the results theyve gotten with a shorthanded lineup.

If youre looking for a betting trend, heres some food for thought.
Last season all three games at Fenway came in under the total (and 8
of the nine were under), but both games so far have gone over the
total this season, so maybe this is the year of the over in the
Rangers-Sox season series.

With both bullpens forced to throw so many innings already in this series, this one could become a softball game in the late innings if either Wilson or Buchholz gets knocked around early.

Badgers Pick: Im leaning toward Wilson and Texas here because I
think his stuff is better than Buchholz, but with the Rangers bullpen
situation Id advise maybe just a 5-inning wager on him. The over of
9 is a solid value too.