Baltimore Orioles at Boston Red Sox
Baltimore opens up its 10-game road trip that will also take them to Detroit and Texas before the All-Star break. The Orioles come into Boston winners of five of their last seven games and hold a 5-4 season series advantage over the Red Sox. This may change over the course of the weekend, considering Baltimore’s 2-15 record in its last 17 games at Fenway Park. The troublesome bullpen over the past couple years has turned a corner over the last seven games, allowing just 22 hits and striking out 24 batters in compiling a 1.71 ERA. The Orioles are a dreadful 8-25 against divisional opponents in 2010 (-1,390) and 54-123 over the last three years (-4,890).
Orioles SP Brad Bergesen is 3-4 with a 6.83 ERA in 13 outings (11 appearances), as he’s allowed an incredible 81 hits in just 58 innings. He went 0-2 with a 12.19 ERA in three April starts before going 3-1 with a 4.26 in six May outings. In June, Bergesen went 0-1 with a 15.63 ERA in two starts. Don’t expect anything different from his terrible numbers last month, with the right-hander bringing a 12.0 ERA in four starts against the AL East this year. In three career starts against the Red Sox, he stands at an even 1-1 with a 3.79 ERA. He has tallied all three of his victories under the lights this season, with his nighttime ERA standing at 5.18 compared to 10.50 in five daytime outings.
Boston has plenty of well-documented injuries that has placed added pressure to the starting rotation. The unit’s top three of John Lackey (9-3), Jon Lester (9-3) and Clay Buchholz (10-4) remain consistent, leading the rotation to a combined 37-19 mark this season. The club has won or split 13 of its past 14 series since May 17 and owns the Majors’ best record at 43-23 since April 20. Facing divisional foes has been a weakness of the Sox in 2010, coming into this series with an even 16-16 mark (-370). This will likely improve over the course of the season, when examining the team’s 102-81 record versus the AL East over the last three years (+440).
Red Sox starting pitcher Tim Wakefield is 2-6 with a 5.21 ERA in 16 appearances (12 starts) this season, with the club alternating losses and wins over his last five outings. He is seeking his first victory at Fenway Park tonight, going 0-4 with a 6.51 ERA in nine home appearances (seven starts). The right-hander has been very effective with no runners on base in 2010, allowing opponents to hit just .254 against him. Opposing lineups are having much more success versus the knuckleballer with runners on (.300). Wakefield is 15-13 with a 4.21 ERA in 48 career appearances against the Orioles, including quality outings in his last five starts against the Orioles at Fenway Park since 2006. He has posted a 3-0 record and 3.31 ERA over that span.
Bettors need to strictly think about playing the underdog in this contest or focus on playing the total, as the lines maker has placed an unreasonable tariff on the home team. Boston is a superb 124-32 in their last 156 games as a home favorite of -200 or greater, but simply can’t be backed tonight with Wakefield winless at Fenway.