Date/Time: April 11, 2013 7:10 pm EST
Television: MLB Network
MLB Betting Odds from TopBet
Probable Starters: Orioles (Tillman) Red Sox (Aceves)
Moneyline: Red Sox (-117) Orioles (+107)
The Baltimore Orioles and Boston Red Sox will meet in the final game of a three-game set at Fenway on Thursday night. Baltimore has given Boston all sorts of trouble in the past couple years, but the Red Sox are off to a nice start in 2013. This game will be televised on MLB Network. Let’s take a closer look at this matchup.
Baltimore surprised everyone by getting into the playoffs last year. Buck Showalter’s team isn’t going to sneak up on people again like they did last season. The Orioles were able to win a ton of close games thanks to a terrific bullpen and timely hitting last year. Can they duplicate that success? It certainly won’t be easy in the difficult AL East. Toronto is a much better team this year, and the Red Sox are quite a bit better than last year. Tampa Bay is always right there battling for the top spot, and the Yankees aren’t as bad as many think.
Chris Davis leads Major League Baseball with 17 RBI’s in this young season. Davis was once a highly touted prospect for the Rangers. He may have taken longer than normal to grow into his skills, but it seems like he finally has the stuff to be a star. Adam Jones had a breakout season last year, and he should be very good once again for Baltimore. Manny Machado is off to a slow start, but big things are expected of him this year. The Baltimore pitching staff has struggled early in the year, and they’ll have to get better for this team to compete.
Boston took two out of three on the road at New York and at Toronto to start the season. Those aren’t easy places to win, so the Red Sox coming out of there with 4 wins was impressive to say the least. The Red Sox have gotten a big boost from youngster Will Middlebrooks, who has already hit four home runs this season. Dustin Pedroia and Shane Victorino are doing a great job getting on base at the top of the order. Both of them have an on-base-percentage of above .400 so far this season.
Alfredo Aceves is getting a spot start in this one for the Red Sox. He has a horrible 10.38 ERA so far this year for Boston, but he gave the team some good innings last season. In the long run, this Red Sox team should continue putting up the runs, but the pitching staff is going to be the big question mark. Boston has upgraded the bullpen quite a bit this year with Hanrahan closing out games for them. Andrew Bailey should do well in the setup role as well. The starting rotation is the problem. With John Lackey going down earlier this week, the questions continue as to whether Boston’s starting pitching will be deep enough for the team to make a run this year.
Free Pick: Over 9.5
Chris Tillman and Alfredo Aceves have both struggled so far this year, and I think that will continue here. Look for the offenses to get it going early and often in this game.