MLB Playoffs News and Notes October 19

MLB Playoffs News and Notes October 19

Boston (6-4) at Tampa Bay (6-4)

The defending World Series-champion Red Sox look to cap another improbable October comeback when they send ace Jon Lester to the hill for Game 7 of the ALCS against the Rays’ Matt Garza at Tropicana Field.

Two days after rallying from a 7-0, seventh-inning deficit to beat Tampa Bay 8-7 and force a Game 6, Boston gutted out a 4-2 victory at Tropicana Field on Saturday night. The Sox got a solid five innings from injured starter Josh Beckett, four shutout innings of relief and enough timely hits – including solo home runs from Kevin Youkilis and Jason Varitek – to push this series to a deciding Game 7.

Boston is now on a 13-4 run in the playoffs and sports further positive streaks of 5-1 on the road and 7-1 in road playoff outings, and under manager Terry Francona, the Red Sox are now 9-1 in elimination playoff games. On the downside, the BoSox have still lost 21 of their last 30 contests on artificial turf.

The Rays entered this series on a 55-17 run at Tropicana Field, but they’ve lost two of three at home to Boston (Games 1 and 6). They’re still on positive runs of 9-3 against divisional foes and 10-5 against the Sox (7-2 at home against Boston). And going back to last season, Tampa has taken 11 of the last 14 from Boston at the Trop.

The home team won the first 12 series meetings between these teams this year, but the visitor is 7-4 in the last 11.

With Lester on the hill, the Red Sox are on runs of 36-15 overall, 17-6 against the A.L. East and 7-1 when he pitches on Sunday. However, after two outstanding postseason starts against the Angels in the divisional round (no earned runs allowed in 14 innings), the southpaw came unglued Monday in Game 3 at Fenway Park. He was touched up for five runs (four earned) on eight hits in 5 2/3 innings, losing 9-1.

Prior to Game 3, the Red Sox had won all seven of Lester’s career starts against the Rays. He’s still 4-1 with a 3.74 ERA against Tampa Bay, but 1-0 with a 6.75 ERA in two outings at Tropicana Field. Additionally, including one postseason start in Anaheim, Lester is 6-5 with a 3.81 ERA in 17 road starts.

The Rays are 2-5 in Garza’s last seven starts overall and 1-4 in his last five on Sunday, but the right-hander outpitched Lester in Boston in Game 3, allowing just one run on six hits in six innings en route to his first career postseason victory. The right-hander is now 4-1 with a 3.49 ERA in seven career starts against Boston, and the Rays are 3-1 in his four starts against the Sox in 2008 (3-0 at home).

Even though he was dominant at Fenway Park six days ago, Garza still has much better numbers this season at Tropicana Field (7-3, 2.89 ERA) than on the road (5-7, 4.53 ERA).

The under is 5-2 in Lester’s last seven starts overall and 5-2-1 in his last eight on the road. Conversely, with Garza pitching, the over is on runs of 5-2 at home and 4-1 versus divisional foes.

Saturday’s game stayed under the posted total, snapping a four-game “over” run in this series. The over is still 13-5 in Tampa’s last 18 at home, 7-3 in Tampa’s last 10 on Sunday and 5-2 in Boston’s last seven ALCS contests.

ATS ADVANTAGE: BOSTON and OVER

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Re: MLB Playoffs News and Notes October 19

Tips and Trends

Boston Red Sox at Tampa Bay Rays

Red Sox (-125, O/U 8.5): Jon Lester looks to rebound after a poor performance his last time out against the Rays. Lester allowed five runs in just 5.1 innings of work in a 9-1 Rays win. Before that loss, Lester had been a perfect 4-0 against the Rays with a 3.38 ERA. Lester was an average 5-5 on the road during the regular season but in his one playoff start away from home he shut down the Angels, allowing just one run over seven innings.

Red Sox are 7-1 in their last 8 playoff road games.
Red Sox are 5-2 in Lester’s last 7 starts with 5 days of rest.

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

PROJECTED SCORE: 5

Rays: Matt Garza shut down the Red Sox in Fenway Park, allowing just one run over six innings. That performance wasn’t surprising when you take into account Garza’s career numbers versus Boston. Heading into the postseason, he was 3-1 with a 3.86 ERA. Garza has been money at home this year, going 7-3 with a stellar 2.89 ERA.

Rays are 1-4 in Garza’s last 5 starts with 5 days of rest.
Rays are 1-4 in their last 5 Sunday games.

Key Injuries - NONE

PROJECTED SCORE: 4

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Re: MLB Playoffs News and Notes October 19

BOSTON (101 - 71) at TAMPA BAY (103 - 69) - 8:05 PM
JON LESTER (L) vs. MATT GARZA (R)

Top Trends for this game.
BOSTON is 4-12 (-9.1 Units) against the money line in games played in a dome this season.
BOSTON is 8-17 (-10.5 Units) against the money line in games played on artificial turf this season.
BOSTON is 49-50 (-13.8 Units) against the money line when playing against a team with a winning record this season.
TAMPA BAY is 103-69 (+29.9 Units) against the money line in all games this season.
TAMPA BAY is 60-26 (+27.5 Units) against the money line in home games this season.
TAMPA BAY is 46-32 (+16.6 Units) against the money line against division opponents this season.
TAMPA BAY is 60-27 (+26.2 Units) against the money line in games played in a dome this season.
TAMPA BAY is 66-47 (+17.6 Units) against the money line in night games this season.
TAMPA BAY is 64-32 (+25.5 Units) against the money line in games played on artificial turf this season.
TAMPA BAY is 40-28 (+12.6 Units) against the money line after a loss this season.
TAMPA BAY is 57-39 (+18.5 Units) against the money line when playing against a team with a winning record this season.
BOSTON is 101-71 (+12.0 Units) against the money line in all games this season.
BOSTON is 73-49 (+11.6 Units) against the money line in night games this season.
LESTER is 34-14 (+18.9 Units) against the money line in all games over the last 2 seasons. (Team's Record)
LESTER is 19-5 (+14.1 Units) against the money line in night games this season. (Team's Record)

Head-to-Head Series History
TAMPA BAY is 13-11 (+3.8 Units) against BOSTON this season
13 of 24 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL this season . (Over=+1.8 Units)

JON LESTER vs. TAMPA BAY since 1997
LESTER is 4-1 when starting against TAMPA BAY with an ERA of 3.72 and a WHIP of 1.324.
His team's record is 7-1 (+5.2 units) in these starts. The OVER is 4-4. (-0.1 units)

MATT GARZA vs. BOSTON since 1997
GARZA is 4-1 when starting against BOSTON with an ERA of 3.49 and a WHIP of 1.345.
His team's record is 6-1 (+5.8 units) in these starts. The OVER is 3-3. (-0.1 units)


American League Championship Series
Best of Seven
Game Seven
Series Tied, 3-3
TV: TBS
Boston at Tampa Bay, 8:05 ET
Jon Lester (L) vs. Matt Garza (R)

Lester:
25-8 TSR as favorite
19-5 TSR in night games

Garza:
5-12 TSR after giving up 1 ER or less last outing
21-9 Under on artificial turf


BOSTON vs. TAMPA BAY
Boston is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games on the road
Boston is 5-10 SU in its last 15 games when playing Tampa Bay
Tampa Bay is 10-5 SU in its last 15 games when playing Boston
Tampa Bay is 10-3 SU in its last 13 games when playing at home against Boston

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