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Rays vs. Red Sox Line at Boston -150

Written by:
Carrie Stroup
Published on:
Apr/11/2011
Rays vs. Red Sox Line

Sportsbook.com Line/Total on the Rays vs. Red Sox game: Boston -150 & 9

Now that the Red Sox have brought their fans back from the ledge of a possible 0-9 start by taking two out of three from the Yankees, Terry Francona’s squad will try and achieve another first for the 2011 season: the first winning streak of the year. Standing in the way of that feat will be the Tampa Bay Rays, 1-8, mired in last place, and feeling very confused as the MLB season enters its second full week of play.

Little has gone right for the Rays. Evan Longoria is on the disabled list, tallying just 5 AB since the start of the season. Manny Ramirez, who was expected to provide some much-needed offensive punch this year, abruptly retired Friday after reportedly learning that he was facing a major suspension due to a recent failed drug test for performance-enhancing drugs. Ramirez was batting .059 with one hit and one RBI in 17 at-bats. Hitting .290, with 2 HR and 4 RBI, B.J. Upton leads the team in all three offensive categories, small consolation on a team that has scored just 20 runs in nine games, while allowing 44 runs to the opponent.

Silver lining? At least the Rays can say they’ve been better on the road than at home, but only because they are 0-5 at Tampa Bay, and 1-3 away. The road is where they will be Monday night as they invade Fenway Park for the first time this season. The Rays are 9-9 at Fenway over the last three seasons. Tampa is coming off of a 6-1 loss Sunday to the White Sox in a game that saw starting pitcher Jeff Niemann (0-2) get pounded, pitching just 2.2 innings, giving up five hits, five runs (three earned) walking two and striking out just one.

Tampa will turn to 24-year-old right-hander Jeremy Hellickson on Monday night, as he hopes to improve on what was his first-ever outing in Fenway last season, when he gave up three runs in just 1.2 innings in relief. "I didn't pitch too well there last year, so looking forward to getting back out there,“ Hellickson said, adding, “It's a park you really want to go to growing up. I was in the bullpen [when he pitched at Fenway last year]. I enjoyed being in there. Once I got in there, I didn't do too well, so I want to get back out there." Hellickson, who had a pitching line of 5.2 IP, 6 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 10 K in his season’s first start Wednesday against the Angels, will try and become the first Tampa starter to notch a win in 2011.

Daisuke Matsuzaka will try and extend the Red Sox win streak to two, while trying to bounce back from a disappointing start in his initial outing. He gave up three runs and six hits in just five innings on Wednesday as the Red Sox went down to defeat, 8-4 at Cleveland, en route to being swept by the Tribe. Matsuzaka is hoping that some of the good karma from Sunday night’s outing by teammate Josh Beckett is still on the mound. Beckett held the Yankees to just two hits over eight shutout innings, striking out 10 and walking just one as the Sox blanked New York 4-0.

Matsuzaka is 3-6 lifetime in 14 career starts against Tampa, with an ERA of 4.95 and a WHIP of 1.54. His team's record is 5-9 in these starts. Tampa has won the last four games in which Matsuzaka has started against them, the last time the Sox won a game in which Dice-K started against the Rays was October 2008. In that game, Matsuzaka only lasted four innings, while giving up five runs. Before this recent streak of futility, he actually defeated the Rays in consecutive starts in 2008, including a gem in October of that year in which he pitched seven innings of shutout ball, allowing just four hits and striking out nine.

 

LOS ANGELES DODGERS (5-4) at SAN FRANCISCO GIANTS (4-5)

Sportsbook.com Line/Total: San Francisco -108 & 6.5 over -115

It’s mid-April, but one of baseball’s best rivalries is ready to start its second series of the young season when the Dodgers visit San Francisco on Monday night.

L.A. took three of four from the Giants at Dodger Stadium to open the season, reversing a trend from the second half of last season when San Francisco beat the Dodgers nine times in 12 games after the All-Star break.

This will be a matchup of two of baseball’s most promising young pitchers. Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw is just 23, but he’s already in his fourth big league season. He was magnificent on Opening Day against the Giants, shutting them out over seven innings, allowing four hits and striking out nine while walking only one, in a 2-1 L.A. victory. He’s simply dominated the Giants over six career starts, going 2-1 with a 1.25 ERA. Last September, he threw a shutout in San Francisco. In August, he held the Giants to two runs over seven innings in a 2-0 road loss. Overall, Kershaw has been just as effective on the road as he has been at home. Since 2010, he’s 6-6 with a 2.55 ERA on the road and 8-5 with a 3.13 ERA at Dodger Stadium.

Bumgarner was a hero in the 2010 World Series, but the 21-year-old’s 2011 campaign didn’t get off to a great start. The Padres, who have one of baseball’s weakest lineups, got to Bumgarner for three runs in three innings. Eight San Diego hitters reached base in those three innings, which led to an early hook for the right-hander. So far in his young career, Bumgarner has been far better on the road than at AT&T Park. Including the postseason, he’s 1-3 with a 4.47 ERA over nine home starts, as compared to 6-4 with a 2.22 ERA in 11 starts on the road.

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