Beckett Takes Mound

Josh Beckett's arm and the bats of the Boston Red Sox have been a successful combination so far in 2007.

The Red Sox offense will look to stay hot with Beckett on the mound Sunday when they try for a third straight win over the Los Angeles Angels as the teams continue their four-game set at Fenway Park.

Oddsmakers have made Boston -1.5 point spread favorites (MLB Odds) for todays game, the over/under has been set at 9.5 total runs (View MLB Sports Books). Our public betting information shows that 55% of bets for this game have been placed on Boston -1.5 (View MLB Bet Percentages).

Beckett (2-0, 1.50 ERA) has received generous run support in two starts this season, a 7-1 win over Kansas City on April 4, and a 14-3 victory over Seattle on Tuesday.

"We pulled out the whupping sticks," Beckett said after allowing one run and two hits to the Mariners over seven innings.

Boston (6-4) has totaled 21 runs with 22 hits when Beckett starts, and has produced similarly impressive offensive numbers in the first two games of this series - outscoring the Angels by a combined 18-1 and outhitting them 22-10.

David Ortiz went 2-for-4 with a three-run homer and four RBIs in Boston's 8-0 win over Los Angeles on Saturday. Eric Hinske, making his first start of the season for the Red Sox at first base, was 2-for-3 with three runs scored.

Ortiz is 4-for-9 with seven RBIs in the series and has three homers and 11 RBIs through 10 games, although the homer Saturday was his first at Fenway in 2007. The slugger hit 22 home runs at home last season.

"I thought I was going to leave town without hitting a home run," Ortiz told the Red Sox's official Web site.

Beckett will try for a third straight strong outing by a Boston starter after Tim Wakefield and Curt Schilling dominated in the first two games of the weekend. Beckett is 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA in two career starts against the Angels.

Los Angeles (6-6), which has lost three straight games and five of six since starting the season 5-1, will send Ervin Santana to the mound Sunday.

Santana (1-1, 6.35 ERA) struggled in his most recent outing, allowing six runs and seven hits in 4 1-3 innings of the Angels' 7-6 loss to the Cleveland Indians at Milwaukee on Tuesday.

"Next outing's going to be better,'' said the right-hander, who is 1-1 with a 6.17 ERA in two starts against Boston, both in 2005.

While the Red Sox are swinging the bats well, the Angels are not. Los Angeles has scored just three runs and recorded 17 hits during its three-game skid and is hitting .159 in two games against Boston.

"Right now there are some adjustments guys are trying to make," Los Angeles manager Mike Scioscia told the Angels' official Web site. "We're in a little funk."

Orlando Cabrera and Howie Kendrick each had two hits Saturday for the Angels. Though the team is struggling, Cabrera is 7-for-15 (.466) in his last four games and Kendrick is 3-for-5 in his last two.

Los Angeles right fielder Vladimir Guerrero, who was 5-for-10 in his previous three games, went 0-for-4 Saturday to drop his average to .364. Guerrero is just 4-for-20 (.200) with one homer, two RBIs and seven strikeouts lifetime against Beckett.

by: Dave Michaels - thespread.com – Email Us

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