Beckett back for Boston

by Dirty on July 23, 2010

Betting on Major League Baseball

The Friday return of Boston Red Sox ace Josh Beckett tops the stories heading into this weekend’s MLB action. Here’s the preview from

Boston is a -125 favorite at Seattle with first pitch at 10:10 pm ET. The Sox won the series opener 8-6.

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Beckett hasn’t pitched since May 18 because of a back issue. He is 1-1 with a 7.29 ERA in eight starts. Those aren’t numbers you expect from a guy that went 17-6 with a 3.86 ERA last season. He also signed a big contract extension before the season, adding to the pressure.

This is a huge series for Boston, who can’t afford to fall much more behind the Yankees in the AL East and Tampa Bay in the wild-card. This grueling 10-day trip ends next Wednesday at the Angels.

A good start from Beckett would boost morale for a team missing Dustin Pedroia, Victor Martinez, Jacoby Ellsbury and others.

The Mariners are firmly entrenched in the AL West basement. They’ve lost both series sine the All-Star break to the Angels and White Sox. The team just doesn’t hit well enough to consistently win games.

Solid lefty Jason Vargas (6-4, 2.97 ERA) will get the start opposite Beckett.

Los Angeles Angels (+170) at Texas Rangers

These two teams look like the class of the AL West, although Oakland isn’t out of the race yet. Texas has continued to play well since the break, but this tough Angels team refuses to go quietly. The Rangers won the series opener 3-2 on Thursday.

The pitching matchup on Friday is Texas’ C.J. Wilson (8-5, 3.23 ERA) vs. Los Angeles’ Joe Saunders (6-9, 4.83 ERA). This is a battle of lefties.

Wilson hasn’t let up more than three earned runs in a game since May 29. Saunders will have a couple of good starts followed by a couple of stinkers. He’s due for a good one.

New York Mets (+105) at Los Angeles Dodgers

Both of these teams are struggling since the All-Star break and fighting uphill battles in their division. The NL wild-card is also a tough go with several teams in the mix. That makes this series even more important. The Dodgers won the series opener 2-0 on Thursday night.

The pitching matchup on Friday is New York’s Johan Santana (7-5, 2.87 ERA) vs. Los Angeles’ Vicente Padilla (4-2, 3.65 ERA).

Santana is 2-0 with a .58 ERA in his last four starts. That’s the kind of great effort they expect from their ace. Padilla is also on fire, 3-1 with a 1.30 ERA in his last five starts.

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