Less than a week before the midseason All-Star break, the Boston Red Sox (45-38) will take on the Texas Rangers (53-32) in the rubber match of their three-game series at Fenway Park (7.10pm ET Wednesday). Here we preview today’s Game 3 and give our predictions and betting picks selections.
The series between the Red Sox, the AL East’s third best team, just 2.5 games out of first, and the Rangers, who maintain a solid 7.5 game lead over their nearest opponent in the AL West, met for the first game of the series on the fourth of July.
For Texas, the fireworks kicked off their showing as the team scored four runs off of sure-handed starter Rick Porcello, a 2016 all-star selection. 9-2 on the season, Porcello allowed 12 hits, a season high, but stopped the bleeding after the first inning. Settling down, he wouldn’t allow another run in his six innings pitched.
The Red Sox on the other hand, would amp up their offensive production, scoring 12 runs and totaling 21 hits in the game. They had four home runs. Boston scored in all but two innings, including four in the third and three in the eighth.
Game two told a different story however as the Rangers emerged with a five-run victory. Again, kicking off the scoring with a two-run first inning, Texas tagged David Price for three runs in eight innings pitched. It was by no means a bad start for Price, who settled down after allowing a lead-off home run to Shin Soo Choo, but Boston’s bats were quiet and unable to make up the deficit. The game was close, 3-2 entering the top of the 9th, which is when Texas blew it open against closer Craig Kimbrel, a former all-star in his own right. The final score was 7-2 in favor of the road team.
(TEX) Martin Perez vs (BOS) Steven Wright
With the series tied at one game apiece, the left handed Martin Perez (pictured) will take the mound for Texas against the righty Steven Wright for Boston.
Wright, a knuckleballer, poses a particular difficultly for a Rangers team that is seventh in MLB in runs scored, 10th in home runs, sixth in RBI and eighth in team batting average. Over his last three starts, 18.2 innings pitched, Wright has had complete command and feel for the hardest pitch in baseball, allowing just a 3.38 ERA while striking out 13.
Very few of the Rangers players have ever seen Wright, with Prince Fielder having the most at-bats against him in the last five years with just three. Most of these hitters have also not had too much experience hitting against the knuckleball as there are so few of those type of pitchers still in the league.
That’s not even to mention that Wright is the middle of a campaign where he is 9-5, including 5-1 at home with just a 3.02 ERA. In the month of June, he was ever better, going 3-1 with just a 1.62 ERA in 33.1 innings pitched.
Taking the mound opposite him for Texas is Perez, who has been riding a hot hand as well. The 25-year-old lefty, who is in his fifth season with the Rangers, is 6-0 with a 3.28 ERA in his last eight starts. He is however just 1-3 with a 4.38 ERA on his eight road starts this year. Not to mention, unfortunately for him, Perez has the task of taking on the most productive offensive line-up in all of the majors.
The Best Offense in Baseball
Boston boast 463 runs, 855 hits, 206 doubles, 1393 total bases, 440 RBI and a slash line of .292/.359/.476.
In all of those categories, Boston is the best in baseball and in some cases, it’s not even close. For example, Boston’s team average of .292, which is practically unheard of, is .18 points better than the Miami Marlins in second place. In runs scored, Boston has 30 more runs than the Chicago Cubs and in RBI, they best their NL opponents by 27. Their 206 doubles are 32 more than the Colorado Rockies.
Boston has been nearly unstoppable with the bats and yet, they still sit in third place in the division despite a 45-38 record. Once again, the AL East is among the toughest in the sport.
Against the Rangers, this offensive explosiveness showed in the first game as Boston scored 12 runs and 21 hits. In the second game however, they were held to just two runs. Unfortunately for the Red Sox, their arms have not always backed up the hitting. For every game Boston has won 12-5, there is another they have lost 13-7 or, most recently, 21-2 in their previous series against the LA Angels.
Now, putting a knuckleballer on the mound is always an interesting prospect pitching wise because you honestly can never know what you are going to get. To his credit, Wright has been consistent and in control of his knuckler for the majority of the season. Boston will need him to continue that run of success, especially at home, if they want their best shot to beat the Rangers.
Our Preview’s Texas Rangers vs Boston Red Sox Game 3 Picks
These are two high-scoring teams and the offshore USA sportsbooks’ runline has Boston Red Sox as favorites at -1.5 runs for +105 odds with 5Dimes and BetOnline.
Again, it’s tough to predict in this preview what to expect from a knuckler but given what he has done so far, it’s reasonable to expect Texas might have a hard time hitting the ball off of him. As for the Red Sox, the match-up is favorable and if they can continue their recent stretch, seeing them score five runs or more is a no brainer. With these thoughts in mind, here are our betting picks’ predictions for this game 3:
- Take the seemingly lofty over on 10.5 total runs in the game @ best betting odds of +100 (evens) with 5Dimes Sportsbook. This option is -105 with Betonline and -115 with Bovada.
- As for the moneyline, take the Red Sox to get the win straight up @ a biggest price of -175 with BetOnline Sportsbook. This is -180 with 5Dimes and Bovada. Both teams are strong going into this game, but at home, and with their secret weapon on the mound, it’s definitely a safe bet to pick Boston to get the game three win and the series win with it.
Marilee writes on NFL, MLB, NBA & tennis for USA Betting. Another area of her sporting journalistic expertise is pro wrestling. A native of Philadelphia and a big Eagles fan, she has been a sports writer for many major websites including Bleacher Report and Rant Sports. She started her journalistic career early, as sports editor for her college newspaper.