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CARL CRAWFORD IS OFF TO A HORRENDOUS START FOR THE RED SOX.
Wed, 18 May 2011 05:17 PM EDT

BOSTON RED SOX (5-10)

at OAKLAND A’S (8-8)

First pitch: Tuesday, 10:05 p.m. EDT
Line: Oakland -115, Boston +105, Total: 7.5

Thanks to three straight quality starts from Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and a Patriots Day gem Monday from Dice-K Matsuzaka, the Red Sox seem to have rediscovered something that resembles swagger in building a three-game winning streak. While they are still in last place, they are at least no longer playing or looking like a last-place team (the Orioles currently hold that dubious distinction). Tuesday Boston begins a West Coast swing in Oakland, where they send John Lackey to the mound. Lackey will look to substantially lower his 15.57 ERA against a team he has enjoyed a great deal of success. The right-hander has beaten the Athletics more than any other team, going 17-5 with a 2.90 ERA and a WHIP of 1.173 in 31 career starts. Baseball spreads.

Offensively, Boston has yet to get Carl Crawford out of the starting gate. Crawford is hitting just .133 and heard many boos this past weekend in Fenway. Jed Lowrie, on the other hand, is 16-for-31, and hitting .516 on the season (not a misprint) with two homers and nine RBI. Lowrie went 4-for-5 with four RBI in the Monday 9-1 victory over Toronto. Dustin Pedroia leads the Sox in hits and BA (18 and .316 respectively), while Jacoby Ellsbury is tops on the team with four HR and nine RBI.

Oakland will counter on the hill with Brett Anderson, who is winless on the season, but has pitched well, as his 2.29 ERA would attest. Anderson is 3-1 when starting against the Sox with an ERA of 2.61 and a WHIP of 1.129. His team’s record is 4-1 in these starts. Anderson has allowed just six runs (five earned) in 19.2 innings. In his most recent start start, Anderson went 5.2 innings against the White Sox, and while he allowed nine hits, he only gave up two earned runs. This has been a common theme this year for Anderson, who despite an impressive ERA, has allowed more than a hit per inning pitched (22 hits in 19.2 innings). Anderson has won two of his last three starts against Boston, including a victory on September 11th of last year in which he went seven innings, allowing two runs on eight hits, and striking out five. Baseball lines.

The pick here is for the gritty Anderson to slow down the Boston bats and to handle the Red Sox on the first game of its west coast swing. The following FoxSheets trends support this pick:

Play Against – All teams when the money line is +125 to -125 (BOSTON) – with a terrible bullpen whose ERA is 5.50 or worse on the season against opponent with a bullpen that averages less than 2.75 innings per game. (46-19 over the last 5 seasons.) (70.8%, +26 units. Rating = 3*)BOSTON is 0-6 (-8.5 Units) against the money line in road games this season. The average score was BOSTON 2.7, OPPONENT 6.3 – (Rating = 2*) Baseball betting lines.


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