Two of the top teams in MLB betting action this year duke it out in the City of Brotherly Love on Tuesday night, as the Boston Red Sox take on the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Sox are 13 games above .500 as we head towards the All-Star Break, and they have really turned on the jets in spite of the fact that they really had a terrible start to the season. The main man responsible for a lot of this success has been Josh Beckett, who will be on the bump on Tuesday. Beckett is 6-2 on the year, but he has led the boys from Beantown to 10 wins in his 14 starts this year. He has already thrown 92 innings in his outings, and he has a fantastic 1.86 ERA. Beckett is coming off of a complete game one hitter against the Tampa Bay Rays in which he finished off his divisional rivals with just 97 pitches, and now, he should be well rested, having had 13 days off since that start after an illness. Beckett is still walking a few too many batters, as 30 in 14 outings is probably a few too many. However, 79 strikeouts makes up for it, and an opposing on base percentage of just .257 has been the end result. Needless to say, if the Boston offense can look anything like the unit that has given him 20 runs of support over the course of his last three starts, Beckett is going to be in great shape in this one.
The problem for Beckett and the Red Sox is that Cliff Lee is on the mound on Tuesday night as well. Though the southpaw really looked like he had had it in his career as recently as about a month ago, all of a sudden, the month of June has been remarkable for Lee. He has had four starts and has posted four wins, and he has done so in fine fashion. In fact, Lee has only allowed one run in his 33 innings of work, and he has only allowed a total of 19 hits and six walks in that stretch as well. Needless to say, if Lee can pitch like this for the rest of the season, all of that money that was spent on him in the offseason will be money well utilized, and the pain of missing Roy Oswalt potentially for the rest of the season will be forgotten. The problem that Lee has is that he has really been abused over the course of these last several starts. He has thrown at least 113 pitches in eight of his last 10 starts, including throwing 126 and 117 in his last two starts against the Florida Marlins and the St. Louis Cardinals, both of which were complete game shutouts.
Boston Red Sox vs. Philadelphia Phillies Pick: Sure, Lee is pitching well right now, and our MLB picks on this one are going to go against him. Boston is the real deal, and this is a very important three game set to prove that it is going to be contending for the rest of the year in the AL East. Go with the Red Sox +120 and back Beckett on long rest to get the job done in what should be a great pitchers' duel.