We got July off to a good start a couple of nights back with the under in Coors Field. And our second play of the month is set for Thursday. The Boston Red Sox snapped a five game losing streak against Chicago opponents at Fenway Park. But they needed some late-game heroics. The Red Sox got to Chicago’s lackluster bullpen and walked off with a win in the ninth on a Brock Holt hit. Their season at a crossroads, it seems to be now or never for Boston. And the new-look, young Sox club looks to begin a winning streak on Thursday behind their ace Jon Lester. The home Sox are -160 favorites against the road White Sox.
Jon Lester has been superb this season, with a 2.73 ERA and a WHIP of just 1.15. Lester has always been a pitcher that predicates himself on going deep into ballgames on a consistent basis and giving his team a great chance to win every time out. And I think he’ll do that exact thing Thursday night at Fenway Park. Lester has completed eight innings in each of his last two outings and hasn’t allowed a run in either of those starts. He’s allowed just eight home runs all season, which bodes well against a Chicago lineup that relies on the long ball about as much as any team in baseball. And the only White Sock who has given Lester problems over his career is Paul Konerko (.357). The great first baseman is not nearly the player he has been over his long career in the American League, so I’m not necessarily worried about Konerko touching up Lester in the here and now. He should be just fine and throw another great start against one of the weaker teams in the AL.
Jose Quintana hasn’t achieved Jon Lester status, but he certainly has pitched well this season from the left side. Quintana has posted a 3.20 ERA and a 1.24 WHIP, which are both really respectable. And there might not be a whole lot to like about Boston’s chances to score runs with their recent struggles. But I’m going with a gut feel here and say that the Red Sox do produce on Thursday. They might not break out for double-digits, but it wouldn’t surprise me if the young Red Sox try to manufacture some runs by running or even, *gasp, bunt. If Boston can take a patient approach against Quintana and get to the bullpen, they won’t need to score much against a terrible ‘pen to get Lester a win. I’m going to lay a run and take the Red Sox at home.
Free Pick: Boston -1 (-125)
YTD: 23-18-1 +1.88