AL East Division Leading Red Sox Go For Sweep of Devil Rays 081507 Print
Wednesday, 15 August 2007 02:59

Bosox Seeking Sweep

The Boston Red Sox have received outstanding starting pitching in this series, and have no reason to believe that won't continue Wednesday.

Daisuke Matsuzaka hopes to be the third Red Sox starter in as many days to dominate the Tampa Bay Devil Rays while helping his club complete a series sweep at Fenway Park.

This three-game set began Monday with Tim Wakefield taking a no-hitter into the seventh inning to lead Boston to a 3-0 victory. Wakefield went eight innings and allowed two hits, the same number Jon Lester surrendered in seven innings on Tuesday before the Red Sox (72-47) rallied in the ninth to win 2-1.

If Matsuzaka (13-8, 3.59 ERA) keeps performing as he has over the past few weeks, Boston should have a good shot at sweeping a series for the first time since a three-game set against Tampa Bay at Fenway from July 3-5.

Matsuzaka is 2-1 with a 1.65 ERA with 28 strikeouts over 27 1-3 innings over his last four starts. His only loss in that span came at Tampa Bay on July 29, though the right-hander held the Devil Rays to two runs in 6 1-3 innings and struck out six in a 5-2 defeat.

When he faced them at Fenway on July 3, Matsuzaka yielded four hits in eight scoreless innings and had nine strikeouts in a 4-1 victory.

Oddsmakers from have made Boston -274 money line favorites (MLB Odds) for today's game, the over/under has been set at 10 total runs (Matchup). Current public betting information shows that 91% of bets for this game have been placed on Boston -274 (View MLB Bet Percentages).

The heart of Tampa Bay's lineup - 2-through-5 hitters Carl Crawford, B.J. Upton, Carlos Pena and Delmon Young - are a combined 2-for-16 (.125) against Matsuzaka.

Boston's bullpen cost him a win at Baltimore on Friday as he allowed one run and four hits in seven innings of a 6-5 defeat. Matsuzaka struck out seven to push his season total to 159, breaking Ken Brett's rookie club record (155 in 1970).

Reliever Eric Gagne recorded only one out and gave up four runs in that game as part of an awful first two weeks in a Red Sox uniform. However, the former NL Cy Young Award winner posted his first win since joining Boston by striking out the side in a scoreless ninth Tuesday.

"I know how to get people out," said Gagne, who entered the game with a 15.75 ERA in five appearances for Boston. "I've done it before, so it's nothing new. I've just got to go out there and relax."

Mike Lowell's game-tying homer in the ninth Tuesday was the Red Sox's first home run in five games. Coco Crisp singled home Jason Varitek with the winning run, pushing Boston's lead to five games over the second-place New York Yankees in the AL East.

The Red Sox had been held scoreless through the first eight innings, but six of those came against Tampa Bay ace Scott Kazmir. They don't face nearly as daunting a task Wednesday going against Andy Sonnanstine (1-8, 6.35).

The rookie right-hander has lost eight straight decisions - a span of 11 starts - since getting his first major league victory at Florida on June 10. He has been particularly bad in losing his two starts this month, allowing 12 runs and 15 hits in eight innings.

Manager Joe Maddon pointed out after Sonnanstine's last start - a 7-4 loss at Texas on Friday - that the rookie is getting into trouble when letting his off-speed pitches float over the heart of the plate.

"He's got to get them in better locations," Maddon said. "He's getting hurt a lot more with the soft one than the hard one."

Opposing batters are hitting .301 against Sonnanstine, who is facing Boston for the first time.

Facing a struggling right-hander may help get David Ortiz on track. After going 0-for-3 on Tuesday - two of those at-bats were against the left-handed Kazmir - Ortiz is batting .272 against lefties and .336 against righties. He has four hits in his last 28 at-bats (.143) and hasn't homered in nine straight games, driving in only four runs.

The Devil Rays (45-74) have been limited to two runs and 14 hits over their last three games. They are closing a 10-game road trip, having gone 3-6 to remain owners of baseball's worst record.

Pena is in a 1-for-19 slump, and leadoff man Akinori Iwamura is hitless in his last 14 at-bats.

Tampa Bay has won only once in eight games against Boston this season.

by: Michael Cash - – Email Us

More MLB Baseball coverage from

 - MLB news wire
 - Current MLB Injuries
 - 2007 MLB standings
 - 2007 MLB schedule
 - 2007 MLB Umpire sheet
 - 2007 MLB stats
 - MLB scoreboard
 - Expert MLB picks
 - Accuscore predictions
 - Comments and discussion
 - Signup for daily newsletter
 - MLB home


MLB Team Pages

Top MLB Public Bets

#1 962 Los Angeles Dodgers 99%
#2 976 Cleveland Indians 99%
#3 959 Chicago Cubs 93%
#4 979 Baltimore Orioles 92%
#5 969 Oakland Athletics 87%
#6 957 San Francisco Giants 83%
#7 972 Chicago White Sox 72%
#8 954 Washington Nationals 66%
#9 952 Pittsburgh Pirates 64%
#10 963 Seattle Mariners 63%
View All: NFL |  NBA |  NCAAF |  NCAAB |  MLB |  NHL

MLB Futures

View All

Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Contact Us | Advertising | 888-99-SPREAD

THIS IS NOT A GAMBLING SITE – If you think you have a gambling problem click here.

Disclaimer: This site is for informational and entertainment purposes only. Individual users are responsible for the laws regarding accessing gambling information from their jurisdictions. Many countries around the world prohibit gambling, please check the laws in your location. Any use of this information that may violate any federal, state, local or international law is strictly prohibited.

Copyright: The information contained on website is protected by international copyright and may not be reproduced, or redistributed in any way without expressed written consent.

About: is the largest sports betting news site in the United States. We provide point spread news, odds, statistics and information to over 199 countries around the world each year. Our coverage includes all North American College and Professional Sports as well as entertainment, political and proposition wagering news.