Halos Face Dice-K
With a pitcher who hasn't yet lost, three trends will be in their favor when they continue their series against the Angels at Fenway Park on Wednesday, with Daisuke Matsuzaka looking to tie for the league lead in wins.
Oddsmakers from Sportsbook.com have made Boston -170 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for tonight's game, the over/under has been set at 9.5 total runs (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 60% of bets for this game have been placed on Boston -170 (View MLB Bet Percentages). Bet this game.
Despite finding out Tuesday that Josh Beckett wouldn't be making his scheduled start due to a stiff neck, the Red Sox (15-7) still won their sixth consecutive game and 10th in the last 11 tries by beating Los Angeles 7-6.
After spot starter David Pauley struggled, Boston erased a four-run deficit to extend the Angels' frustration in the series. The Red Sox have won 26 of their last 37 games against the Angels (12-9) since July 2004, a run that includes AL division series sweeps in 2004 and 2007.
Los Angeles has also won just six of 23 games at Fenway over that stretch. Boston has won seven straight at home, starting its current seven-game homestand with five wins.
"To be honest, I am tired of ... our luck here," Angels reliever Scot Shields said. "I'm tired of it. They beat us. Now let's move on to the next day."
Shields has struggled in Boston as much as any of his teammates. In 12 career appearances there, he has allowed 17 earned runs in 9 1-3 innings. No runs were charged to Shields Tuesday, but he allowed an inherited runner to score the go-ahead run on Dustin Pedroia's eighth-inning double.
Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury, who scored the run, led Boston's attack in the game. Pedroia was 4-for-5 with three doubles, while Ellsbury had two home runs and a bunt single.
While Ellsbury has three consecutive multi-hit games, Pedroia has an 11-game hitting streak, raising his average to .364 over that span.
"Baseball isn't a one-man game. It's different guys every game," said Kevin Youkilis, who had a two-run home run. "There's a lot of times when Josh will pitch well. There's times when we're going to need to score some runs for him."
While Beckett appears likely to make his next start, Matsuzaka (4-0, 3.14 ERA) will try to win his fifth straight start on Wednesday.
Matsuzaka has struggled with high pitch counts, failing to last seven innings in any of five starts this season. He didn't complete the sixth in either of his last two starts, but he still has a chance to join Arizona's Brandon Webb as the major leagues' only five-game winners.
The Red Sox have scored 24 total runs in Matsuzaka's last three starts, and the right-hander has only allowed 18 hits in 28 2-3 innings this year.
"I realize that I have to go deeper into games," Matsuzaka told his team's official Web site. "The very fact that we have to even talk about pitch counts, I think that's a problem right there."
His only career start against the Angels was a no-decision in Game 2 of last year's division series. He threw 96 pitches in just 4 2-3 innings, allowing three runs on seven hits and three walks.
He'll be opposed on Wednesday by Jon Garland, who hasn't been a part of the Angels' struggles at Fenway. Garland (2-2, 4.81) was acquired in a trade with the Chicago White Sox in the offseason, but he's had his own problems in Boston.
He's 1-3 in his career at Fenway, with his last win coming in May 2002. In four starts since, he's 0-2 with a 6.14 ERA.
The Angels, who had won six of seven before losing 4-2 to Seattle on Sunday, are trying to avoid losing three consecutive games for the first time this season. Third baseman Chone Figgins will also be looking to match the longest hitting streak of his career, having already hit in 13 straight.