The Red Sox have life. And after two straight wins to begin the second half of the season, Boston eyes its first sweep since mid-June against the Minnesota Twins. The Red Sox are winners of three straight going back to before the All-Star break and send their ace Jon Lester to the hill Sunday afternoon. But the Royals will respond with a budding ace of their own. Yordano Ventura makes his first start at Fenway Park, and his first start against the Red Sox, of his young career. The Sox are a definitive favorite with a total of 8.0 for the game.
The Red Sox have won eight straight home games by exactly one run. That isn’t to say they’ve won eight straight games at home. But rather, of the last eight games Boston has won at Fenway Park, every single one has been by a single run. And of those eight games, the highest run total has been nine (5-4). That also happened to be in the game I took the under 8.5 two days ago. Tough luck there. But what this recent trend does show is that Boston has been playing tight, low-scoring games at home. Does it necessarily mean much? No. But I do think it is a little reflective of the type of team Boston has been trotting out there between all the young position players.
Yordano Ventura has been really good all year. The 23-year-old has a low 3’s ERA, a 1.26 WHIP and a very live fastball that has been baffling most of the American League. Ventura left his last start early with injury precaution, but that was a full week ago and he has been ruled fine to pitch on Sunday. The Royals wouldn’t trot him out there if his circumstances were any different. Venture has allowed more than four runs in an outing once since May 26, a span that consists of eight starts. And he should keep that little run going today. The Royals are in need of a win and will be quick to get the most out of Ventura that they can and turn it over to their great bullpen. The Sox really might only get a few across. And that might be fortunate.
It also might be enough to win with Jon Lester going. There really isn’t a whole lot to say about Lester at this point. He’s one of the best pitchers in the AL and he’s throwing as well as he has in a while. Six straight starts of two or fewer runs allowed, and counting. Lester is having arguably the best season of his career and he will be out to make sure this mini winning streak his team is on won’t end on his turn in the rotation. Look for two hungry teams to pitch and defend very well tomorrow in a low scoring game. The total shouldn’t be any higher than 7.5. Look for a push at worst.
Free Pick: Under 8 (-120)
YTD: 24-20-2 +0.88