The Boston Red Sox are making the wrong kind of history as they finish their 3-game series at the Texas Rangers on Wednesday night.
First pitch from the Lone Star State is 8:05 p.m. (ET). Josh Beckett will start for Boston and he’s one of the poster children for the team’s poor season. Texas will counter will lefty Derek Holland.
The Don Best odds screen is showing Texas -125 on the opener with a 10-run total.
The Red Sox (48-49) dropped the Monday series opener 9-1 despite having their 10-game winner Felix Doubront on the mound and facing a spot-starter in Scott Feldman. They’re now in a freefall with 4-straight losses and are below .500 at the latest point in a season since 2001.
Things won’t be getting any easier for Boston as slight ‘dogs on Tuesday night (result pending) before a weekend series at the rival New York Yankees. The Bronx Bombers just made a huge move by acquiring Seattle outfielder Ichiro Suzuki, while the Red Sox will be sellers at the July 31 trade deadline if they continue to descend.
The Rangers (57-38) have beaten the Red Sox in all three meetings this year and the last four overall. They now lead the Angels by five games in the AL West as they shoot for their third-straight World Series appearance.
Beckett (5-8, 4.53 ERA) is one of the targets of Boston fans’ ire, still blaming him for the September collapse last year when he was one of several starters drinking beer and eating fried chicken in the clubhouse during games.
The often ornery-Beckett never really accepted blame for that fiasco and hasn’t pitched well enough this year for fans to forget. The 32-year-old right-hander pitched pretty good through June (4.06 ERA), but has a 6.88 in three July starts.
Boston is just 1-6 in his last seven starts, scoring a total of eight runs in five of the losses. His ERA in the last six road starts is a solid 3.43, with the ‘under’ 4-1 in the last five of those.
Beckett is a native of Texas and is 3-1 with a 3.48 ERA in five lifetime starts at the Rangers. He did lose to them at home opposite Holland in April despite allowing just three earned runs over seven innings.
Holland (6-5, 4.84 ERA) is struggling to regain his 2011 form when he won 16 games with an ERA of 3.95.
The 25-year-old lefty looked good (1-0, 1.98 ERA) in his first two July starts after coming back from a DL stint with shoulder fatigue. However, he got lit up at the Angels last Friday in allowing two homers and six earned runs over 6 2/3 innings.
Holland needs to take care of business at home where he’s 2-3 with a 6.38 ERA compared to 4-2 with a 3.40 ERA away. He surrendered just two earned runs (four hits) over seven innings in that April win at Fenway.
Both teams are riding some ‘under’ streaks after the 10 combined runs on Monday dipped below the 10½-run total.
The ‘under’ is 7-0 in Texas’ last seven home games, 9-2 in Boston’s last 11 away and 12-0 in Boston’s last 12 against the AL West.