Slump Over For Oritz?
David Ortiz's slump might finally be over. Manny Ramirez's hot streak certainly isn't.
With their one-two punch of sluggers in full swing, the streaking Boston Red Sox will look to make it three straight wins against the Texas Rangers and four in a row overall on Sunday afternoon at Fenway Park.
Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made Boston -155 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for tonight's game, the over/under has been set at 10.5 total runs (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 74% of bets for this game have been placed on Boston –155 View MLB Bet Percentages). Bet this game.
The Red Sox (12-7) trailed Saturday's game between the teams 3-2 in the bottom of the eighth inning, but the Rangers couldn't survive the middle of Boston's lineup.
After Dustin Pedroia doubled, Ortiz tied the game with an RBI single, then Ramirez sent the Red Sox to a 5-3 win with a towering two-run home run onto Lansdowne Street beyond the Green Monster - his second late-inning, tie-breaking home run this week.
"He doesn't give a darn where (the pitch is) at," Texas manager Ron Washington said. "He did what he had to do and lifted it over the fence, and that wasn't just Fenway's wall that it went over because in any other park I think it was gone, too."
As the Red Sox have won seven of their last eight games, Ramirez has led the way, going 14-for-30 (.467) over that span, with five home runs and 12 RBIs. His two-run, ninth-inning homer Monday in Cleveland broke a 4-4 tie in a Boston win, while Saturday's shot was the 496th of his career.
Ortiz, who was on base for both of Ramirez's go-ahead blasts, hopes his recent success marks the beginning of the end of his lengthy slump. The DH is still hitting just .141, but he's 3-for-8 with a home run and six RBIs in the last two games.
His grand slam Friday gave Boston the lead for good in an 11-3 win, and he's 6-for-12 with three home runs and seven RBIs in his career against Kevin Millwood - Sunday's starter.
"When you have to pitch to David, knowing Manny is coming up, that's what keeps us in ballgames," Red Sox closer Jonathan Papelbon said.
Millwood (1-2, 2.42 ERA) has pitched well this season after starting on opening day for Texas, allowing only seven earned runs in 26 innings. But the Rangers (7-11) have dropped three of his four starts, only scoring nine total runs for him.
The right-hander has been more fortunate at Fenway, going 3-1 with a 3.44 ERA in six career starts, holding the Red Sox to two or fewer runs five times.
In his last start, Millwood allowed four runs in five innings, pitching on despite getting hit in the leg with a batted ball in the second inning. His leg stiffened during that game, but he said there's no doubt he'll be ready to pitch Sunday.
"It's always fun to go in there and pitch in that environment," Millwood told his team's official Web site. "It's fun to pitch against a really good team."
Tim Wakefield (1-0, 3.18) will pitch for Boston, trying to build on some recent success against the Rangers. Entering last season, Wakefield was 7-13 with a 6.08 career ERA against Texas, but he went 2-1 in the series in 2007, winning his last two starts and allowing just six earned runs and no homers in 19 2-3 innings.
Wakefield has allowed just six earned runs in 17 innings this year despite walking 12.
The teams close the four-game series on Monday at 11:05 a.m. - the annual Patriots' Day game coinciding with the Boston Marathon.