Sunday afternoon baseball and I will have a Free Pick in the game between the Boston Red Sox and the Tampa Bay Rays, which will be played at Tropicana Field in Tampa. First pitch is scheduled for a 1:10 PM (Eastern) start time and the game will be televised locally.
Red Sox +167
Over/ Under: 6.5 O -120
This is game 3 of a 3 game series between these American League East foes. The Red Sox are having a miserable year so far as they are 10 games under .500 and in last place in the AL East. They have split the first 2 games of this series and are just 16-23 on the road for the year. the Rays are having a solid season so far and they currently lead the AL East by a half a game over the Yankees, but they are just 20-20 at home for the year so far.
The Red Sox rank 18th in scoring (4.08 rpg), 14th in hitting (.255) and 13th in homers (69), while on the mound they are 28th in ERA (4.43) and 26th in WHIP (1.35). Tampa Bay ranks 25th in scoring (3.69 rpg), 22nd in hitting (.244) and 14th in homers (67), while on the mound they are 3rd in ERA (3.28) and 4th in WHIP (1.20).
Getting the ball for Boston today will be Justin Masterson, who is 2-2 with a 6.37 ERA in 7 starts this year, while on the road he is 1-1 with a 6.46 ERA. Justin has struggled vs the Rays in his career, going just 2-8 with a 6.93 ERA in 15 games (11 starts), while at the Trop he is 1-4 with a 6.68 ERA in 7 games (6 starts).
Toeing the rubber for the Rays today will be Chris Archer, who is clearly the ace of this team and is 9-4 with a 2.10 ERA overall, while at home he is 3-3 with a 2.37 ERA. Chris has struggled with the Sox, going just 1-5 with a 5.18 ERA in 8 career starts vs them.
Pick: I will go with the over in this game. 6.5 is just too low here. I know that Archer is having a very good year, but he is not unhittable as he has a 2.37 ERA at home and a 3.15 ERA in his last 3 starts, plus he has a 5.18 ERA in his career vs Boston. The Sox offense has come alive of late as they have hit .292 vs righties and have scored 5.6 runs per 9 off of them in their last 10 games. The Sox should be good for at least 3 in this one. The Tampa offense is nothing special, but they will be taking on Justin Masterson, who is coming off the DL and had a 6.37 ERA in his 7 starts before getting injured, plus he has a 6.68 ERA in 7 games (6 starts) in this park. I can't see how the Rays don't notch at least 3 runs in this one. this will not be a 2-1 type game, but more like a 5-4 type game as both offenses should have a good game vs a couple of starters that have struggled vs them in the past.
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In Defense of Pete Rose
A recent ESPN Outside the Lines piece revealed Pete Rose did more than just bet on baseball--he bet on the Cincinnati Reds aka the Big Red Machine during hist stint as player/manager. Since Rose never bet against his baseball team, pro bettors Teddy Covers and Steve Fezzik come to his defense, pointing out he never fixed games like, say, the Chicago Black Sox did. Comparing to other athletes who bet on sports, his lifetime ban from baseball and the Hall of Fame seems pretty harsh compared to the one-year ban of football player Alex Karas. In short, the sports world is being way too harsh on one of the great players of the game.