MLB Playoffs News and Notes October 11

MLB Playoffs News and Notes October 11

The payoff pitch: Saturday’s best mound matchup
By COVERS.com

Josh Beckett (Boston Red Sox) vs. Scott Kazmir (Tampa Bay Rays)

Josh Beckett RHP (12-10, 4.03 ERA)


An injured Beckett had his roughest postseason start of his career against the Angels in Game 3 of the American League Divisional Series. His bum oblique slowed the right hander, who gave up four hits on nine hits. Beckett pitched just five innings and threw more than 100 pitches in the 5-4 loss to Los Angeles.

He’s had almost a week off to heal up before facing the Rays in Tampa Bay Saturday. It will be his sixth start against Tampa this season. Beckett is 2-1 with a 2.06 ERA in those games and is 1-2 with a 1.93 career ERA in four career starts at Tropicana Field.

Despite his most recent loss, Beckett’s October numbers are still outstanding. He is 6-2 with a 2.09 ERA in almost 78 innings pitched in the postseason. Beckett has plenty of League Championship experience as well. He is 3-0 in four LC starts including his 2003 World Series run with the Marlins.

Scott Kazmir LHP (12-8, 3.49 ERA)

Kazmir sputtered in the first inning of his postseason debut, but composes himself for the win versus the White Sox in Game 2 of the ALDS. He escaped what could have been a disastrous situation to finish with a 5 1/3-innning start in which he allowed two runs on eight runs.

The left-handed hurler knows the Red Sox well. He faced Boston four times this season and has a 0-2 record and 9.00 ERA to show for it. Kazmir’s most recent appearance against the BoSox was a putrid three-inning shellacking in which he allowed nine runs, four home runs, on six hits September 15. He is 6-7 with a 3.62 career ERA versus Boston.

That last start against the Red Sox was one of only two losses inside Tropicana for Kazmir. The youngster went 9-2 at home with an ERA under 3.00. Boston batted .253 BA against the Rays with 18 home runs and an on-base percentage of .347. The Red Sox also had the best batting average versus left-handed pitchers in the majors (.294 BA).

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Re: MLB Playoffs News and Notes October 11

Boston (4-1) at Tampa Bay (3-2)

After stealing Game 1 of the American League Championship Series in Tampa Bay on Friday night, the Red Sox will hand the ball to playoff stud Josh Beckett (12-10, 4.12 ERA) as this best-of-7 set continues at Tropicana Field. The Rays will counter with Scott Kazmir (13-8, 3.48).

Boston, which went 1-8 at Tropicana Field in the regular season, got an outstanding pitching performance by Daisuke Matsuzaka and three relievers in last night’s 2-0 victory. Although they finished three games under .500 on the road in the regular season, the Red Sox are unbeaten in three postseason road games so far. Also, Terry Francona’s club is riding hot streaks of 23-7 in the playoffs, 9-3 in ALCS contests, 6-0 in road playoff games, 29-14 against southpaw starters and 21-9 when Beckett hurls on the highway.

Despite Friday’s defeat, Tampa Bay is still 55-18 in its last 73 home games. The Rays are also on runs of 4-2 overall, 6-1 against A.L. East rivals, 40-19 versus right-handed starters and 14-6 on Saturdays. Additionally, with Kazmir on the hill, Tampa is on streaks of 20-7 overall, 20-7 at home and 13-3 on Saturday.

These rivals have now squared off 19 times this year, with Tampa Bay holding a slight 10-9 edge. The home team won the first 13 meetings this year, but the visitor is 4-2 in the last six.

Beckett was rock-solid for the Red Sox in last year’s World Series run, going 4-0 with a 1.20 ERA, and he’s 6-2 with a 1.73 ERA in 11 career postseason outings (10 starts). However, he struggled in his first playoff start this year, giving up four runs on nine hits in five innings at home Sunday, getting a no-decision in his team’s 5-4, 12-inning loss to the Angels.

Boston has lost four straight games that Beckett has started, with the right-hander yielding eight runs on 16 hits in his last two outings covering 11 innings. On the bright side, he was solid away from Fenway Park this year, going 7-5 with 2.85 ERA. In two regular-season starts at Tropicana Field, Beckett allowed just thee runs (two earned) in 15 innings (1.20 ERA), but Boston lost both games by scores of 4-2 and 2-1. For his career, Beckett is 5-3 with a 3.11 ERA in 10 starts against the Rays (1-2, 1.93 ERA in four starts at the Trop).

Kazmir pitched in and out of trouble throughout his first career playoff start against the White Sox eight days ago, scattering eight hits and two walks in 5 1/3 innings, but he gave up only two runs in earning a 6-2 home victory. The veteran southpaw is 9-2, 2.93 in 15 home starts this season, 13 of which the Rays have won.

Kazmir really struggled in four starts against Boston this year, going 0-2 with a 9.00 ERA. That includes a 13-5 home loss on Sept. 15, when Kazmir lasted just three innings after surrendering nine runs (all earned) on six hits – including four home runs. Kazmir gave up six home runs in 18 innings against Boston this year, and he’s 6-7 with a 3.62 ERA in 21 career outings against the Sox.

With Kazmir pitching, the over is on streaks of 6-1 overall, 5-1 at home, 4-0 against the A.L. East and 5-0 against Boston. Conversely, with Beckett on the hill, the under is on runs of 4-0-1 overall, 4-1 on the highway, 5-2 on Saturdays and 4-1 versus Tampa Bay.

The under is 5-1-1 in Boston’s last seven overall, but the over is 5-2-2 in the team’s last nine ALCS games, 10-5 in its last 15 on artificial turf, 4-0 in the last four against lefty starters and 5-0-1 in the last six on Saturday. Meanwhile, Tampa Bay sports over runs of 19-8 at home, 20-7 against righty starters and 15-8 versus division foes.

As for this rivalry, the total has alternated in each of the last 11 meetings, with Game 1 of this series easily staying under the posted price.

ATS ADVANTAGE: OVER

Gametimedecisions.com

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Re: MLB Playoffs News and Notes October 11

BOSTON (99 - 68) at TAMPA BAY (100 - 67)

JOSH BECKETT (R) vs. SCOTT KAZMIR (L)
There are no Top Trends with records of significance that apply to this game.

Head-to-Head Series History
TAMPA BAY is 10-9 (+2.3 Units) against BOSTON this season
9 of 19 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL this season . (Over=-1.2 Units, Under=-0.4 Units)

JOSH BECKETT vs. TAMPA BAY since 1997
BECKETT is 5-3 when starting against TAMPA BAY with an ERA of 3.10 and a WHIP of 1.080.
His team's record is 5-5 (-3.7 units) in these starts. The OVER is 4-6. (-2.2 units)

SCOTT KAZMIR vs. BOSTON since 1997
KAZMIR is 6-7 when starting against BOSTON with an ERA of 3.62 and a WHIP of 1.391.
His team's record is 11-10 (+7.5 units) in these starts. The OVER is 10-11. (-1.5 units)


American League Championship Series
Best of Seven
Game Two
Red Sox Lead, 1-0
TV: TBS
Boston at Tampa Bay, 8:05 ET
Josh Beckett (R) vs. Scott Kazmir (L)

Beckett:
0-3 TSR on artificial turf
Boston 2-8 at Tampa Bay

Kazmir:
13-2 TSR in home games
5-0 TSR on Saturday


BOSTON vs. TAMPA BAY
Boston is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games on the road
Boston is 3-7 SU in its last 10 games when playing Tampa Bay
Tampa Bay is 4-2 SU in its last 6 games
Tampa Bay is 4-2 SU in its last 6 games at home


Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays

Red Sox: Josh Beckett didn’t pitch well against the Angels in the Divisional Series, allowing nine hits and four runs in just five innings of work, The good news is Beckett has been good both on the road this season and against the Rays in his career. He’s 7-5 with a stellar 2.85 ERA away from home and 5-3 with a 3.11 ERA in 10 starts versus Tampa.

Red Sox are 6-0 in their last 6 playoff road games.
Red Sox are 2-9 in the last 11 meetings in Tampa Bay.

Key Injuries - 3B Mike Lowell (back) is OUT.

PROJECTED SCORE: 4

Rays (-115, O/U 8): Scott Kazmir took care of business against the White Sox in the Divisional Series, allowing just two runs over 5.1 innings. Kazmir has been a beast at Tropicana Field this season, going 8-2 with a strong 2.90 ERA. He’s just 6-7 in his career against the Red Sox but Kazmir’s ERA is a respectable 3.62. The last time Kazmir faced the Red Sox he was lit up for nine runs in only three innings.

Rays are 14-6 in their last 20 Saturday games.
Rays are 20-7 in Kazmir’s last 27 home starts.

Key Injuries - NONE

PROJECTED SCORE: 5

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