|Written by Michael|
Bet on the MLBThunderstorms are predicted tonight in Tampa, but the game will not be in jeopardy within the covered confines of Tropicana Field which inexplicably is in St.Petersburg, not Tampa, but close enough for government work. The first pitch is scheduled for 7:00ET and the game will be shown nationally on ESPN.
Another thing not in jeopardy, at least for the time being, is Bobby Valentines job as the first year skipper of the BoSox. Pitching has been key for the Red Sox in their recovery from early season woes. Entering tonight's affair, Boston has won five straight and in the last four of those yielded a total of just three runs.
On Tuesday, Josh Beckett pitched seven innings and the bullpen once again did not allow a run in the 5-0 Red Sox victory. Thats three straight shutouts by Boston relievers too. Speaking of streaks, David Ortiz has driven in a run in the last four games, including a homer last night.
Tonights pitcher for the Red Sox poses the question, How do you have a 4-1 won, loss record and an ERA of 8.31 at the same time? You can get the answer from BoSox righty Clay Bucholtz, who gets the nod this evening. Click here to check out the MLB baseball odds and see if any changes have affected the line before tonight's games. The easy answer is run support. Boston has scored an average of just under 10 runs a game when he pitches.
He'll need to do better than that facing the Rays Jeremy Hellickson who takes to the hill for Tampa Bay. The young righthander is 3-0 with an earned run average of 2.95. He has not allowed more than 3 runs since he last faced these same Red Sox a little over a month ago, when he gave up 5 in 5 innings of work, with all 5 runs coming as a result of 3 homers.
Tampa returns to the Bay after a 4-3 victory against the Toronto Blue Jays on Tuesday and the Rays now have a three game win streak of their own. Evan Longoria remains out of the Rays lineup. Tampa Bay is a home favorite at -$140, while Boston is a +$130. According to the online betting sportsbook page, the over/under is 8.5 total runs on a $115/$100 moneyline.