Texas Rangers vs. Boston Red Sox Preview

Texas Rangers (61-60) +240, 10 1/2 at Boston Red Sox (70-51), 7 pm Eastern Thursday
by Zman of Predictem.com

The Boston Red Sox shoot for a sweep of a three-game series with the Texas Rangers when the two teams meet Thursday night at Fenway Park.

Baseball bookmakers are listing Boston and starting pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka (13-2, 2.90, 1.33 WHIP) as 280 home favorites for Thursday’s game, with a total of 10 1/2, while Texas and rookie right-hander Tommy Hunter (0-1, 10.61, 1.93) are getting +240 as road underdogs.

Boston has taken the first two games of this series by scores of 19-17 - yes, that’s no misprint - and, last night, 8-4. So during their 1-4 road trip so far, the Rangers have allowed opponents to score 52 runs - more than 10 runs per game!

So going into Thursday’s action, the Rangers, who have lost six of their last seven games, are in second place in the AL West, 15 games back of the first-place Los Angeles Angels, while the Red Sox, winners of nine of their last 12 games, are in second place in the AL East, three games behind of the first-place Tampa Bay Rays.

But Boston leads the AL wild-card race by 2 1/2 games over the Minnesota Twins, while Texas is nine games back. Texas is 30-34 on the road this year, 42-51 as underdogs, and 64-57 the run line.

Boston is 42-16 at home this season, 60-32 as favorites, and 61-60 vs. the run line.

The Sox have taken all six games from the Rangers so far this season, with the totals going 5-1, as the games have averaged over 15 total runs per!

Over his first two career ML starts, including a rough outing vs. the Yankees last Wednesday, Hunter has allowed 11 ER and 18 baserunners (hits + walks) in 9 1/3 IP. Texas is 1-1 in Hunter’s starts this year, the totals 1-1.

This will be Hunter’s first-ever start vs. the Red Sox.

Over his last three starts, including a solid performance vs. the White Sox last Saturday, Matsuzaka has given up eight ER and 22 BR in 19 IP. Boston is 16-4 in Matsuzaka’s starts this year, the totals 7-12.

Dice-K has started two games the last two seasons vs. the Rangers, allowing eight ER and 17 BR in 10 1/3 IP. The Red Sox won both of those games, and both games went over their totals.

Offensively, Texas leads the majors this season in team BA at .282, ranks 3rd in team OBP at .352, 1st in team slugging at .461, and leads the league in scoring at 5.7 runs per game.

Boston ranks 3rd in batting at .280, 2nd in OBP at .357, 4th in slugging at .443, and is averaging 5.1 RPG.

Over the last five games, the Texas bullpen has allowed 14 ER and 43 BR in 22 1/3 IP.

Over its’ last five games, the Boston pen has given up 10 ER and 19 BR in 13 1/3 IP.

On the injury/personnel front, the Sox placed 3B Mike Lowell on the DL Wednesday with a strained oblique. On the other side of this match-up, Texas slugger Josh Hamilton is tending to family-related duties, and is doubtful for Thursday’s game.

The totals are 66-49 in Rangers games this year, 55-58 in Sox games, and 28-28 in games played at Fenway Park, which are averaging 9.95 total runs this season.