MLB Betting Preview: Boston Red Sox vs. Philadelphia Phillies

Starting Pitchers: Boston (Beckett) vs. Philadelphia (Lee)

Date/Time: May 20, 1:35 PM EST

Television: TBS

MLB Betting Odds from BetOnline

Moneyline: Phillies (-150) Red Sox (+140)

Total: 7


Boston and Philadelphia split the first two games of this Interleague series. The deciding game of the series will be televised on TBS Sunday afternoon. Both of these teams have had a disappointing start to the season, but there is plenty of time left for them to make a run. They are both playing better in the past week or so. Two big-named pitchers will take the mound in this one.

Josh Beckett has been in the news for the wrong reasons so far this year. There was a ton of controversy about him missing a start after playing golf the same day, and that wasn’t handled very well. In addition, Beckett has a subpar 4.97 ERA so far in 2012. He did pitch a shutout over 7 innings in his last outing against Seattle. Overall, the Red Sox have a team ERA of 4.68.

Boston is missing some major contributors from their projected lineup, but this offense has still been very good. David Ortiz is having a major bounce back season. Ortiz is hitting .344 with 9 homers and 29 RBI’s. Cody Ross, Mike Aviles, and Ryan Sweeney continue to outperform expectations. Youngsters Will Middlebrooks and Daniel Nava have been great over the last couple weeks. Boston is averaging 5.40 runs per game, which is third in the majors.

Cliff Lee gets the start for the Phillies. Lee has allowed two runs or fewer in all but one of his starts this year. That includes his amazing 10 inning shutout against the Giants in mid-April. He has missed some time with injuries, but when he has been healthy he has been terrific. Philadelphia leads the majors with an amazing 31 quality starts already this year from their starters.

The Phillies offense badly struggled at the beginning of the year, but they have been improving over the last few weeks. Philadelphia ranks sixth in the majors in batting average, but they have still been having a difficult time coming up with hits when runners are in scoring position. Jimmy Rollins is batting just .227 and he has an on-base-percentage of less than .300. Carlos Ruiz has been carrying the offense through most of the season. Ruiz is batting .358, and he leads the team with 29 RBI’s.

Betting Trends

The Red Sox are an amazing 87-37 in their last 124 interleague games. Boston is 5-2 in Josh Beckett’s last 7 starts as an underdog.

Philadelphia is 6-1 in their last 7 games overall. The Phillies are 4-1 in Lee’s last 5 interleague starts. Still, they are just 1-5 in Lee’s last 6 starts this season.

The over is 4-0-1 in the Phillies last 5 games. The over is 5-2-2 in Beckett’s last 9 starts.

MLB Free Pick: Boston Red Sox ML

Lee has been great all season, but the Red Sox have torched left-handers and the Phillies don’t give Lee any run support. The value is with the Red Sox in this one.