Thursday night will feature a matchup of two teams with postseason aspirations, but two teams that have work to be done to get there as the Texas Rangers (36-31) take on the Boston Red Sox (35-34) at Fenway Park. After taking two of the first three games in this four-game series, the Rangers find themselves with a winning record, but nine games behind the first-place Houston Astros in the AL West. For the defending champion Boston Red Sox, a frustrating year currently has them in third place in the AL East, eight games behind the New York Yankees.
The pitching matchup for this one features Adrian Sampson (5-3, 3.72 ERA) going for the Rangers against the Red Sox’s David Price (4-2, 2.70 ERA). First pitch for this contest is scheduled for 7:10 pm ET.
The moneyline for this one features the Texas Rangers at +200 and the Boston Red Sox at -220. The over/under for total runs scored is set at 9.
By The Numbers
Offensively, the Texas Rangers have had one of the best offenses in baseball this season. They currently rank second in the majors, averaging 5.71 runs per game (5.57 on the road). For the Red Sox, they come in a respectable seventh, averaging 5.22 runs per game (5.34 at home).
On the pitching side, it is Boston who comes in a little stronger. Their staff earned run average is 16th with a 4.43 ERA (4.52 at home). For the Rangers, they fall to 23rd with a 4.84 ERA (5.30 on the road).
When you put it all together, these two are pretty similar in run differential. The Rangers come in eighth in the majors with a +37 run differential while the Red Sox come in just a couple spots behind them at 10th with a +29 run differential.
Rangers Look To Stay Hot
The Texas Rangers have been on a tear lately, winning eight of their 12 games in the month of June. To continue this hot streak, they will turn to righty Adrian Sampson to take the ball in the finale against the Red Sox. On the season, Sampson is 5-3 in 14 games (seven starts) with a 3.72 ERA, 1.33 WHIP and opponents are hitting .283 against him.
In 67.2 innings, Sampson has allowed 76 hits, 28 earned runs, nine home runs and has struck out 53 versus 14 walks. In his last outing, a 3-1 win over the Oakland A’s, Sampson threw a complete game, allowing four hits, one walk and one earned run while striking out seven.
On the offensive side, a lot of the Rangers have been clicking as of late, in particular, Nomar Mazara. In the last 30 days, Mazara is hitting .313/.358/.473 with three home runs, 16 runs batted in and 20 runs scored. Mazara is 1 for 3 in his lifetime against David Price with two runs batted in. Another player to watch against Price is Shin-Soo Choo. The veteran outfielder is hitting .471 in 17 at-bats with two home runs and three runs batted in.
Red Sox Can’t Afford To Slip
Often after a team wins a championship, the notion of postseason hangovers comes up, where the team plays so many extra games the previous year that they have a tough time getting going the following year. For the Red Sox, it’s over a third of the way into the season, and they are still trying to shake their postseason hangover. The pitcher that has seemed to be their ace, their stopper on the mound, though, will be taking the ball in this one in David Price.
On the season, Price is 4-2 in 11 starts with a 2.70 ERA, 1.05 WHIP and opponents are hitting .223 against him. In 60 innings, he has allowed 49 hits, 18 earned runs, seven home runs and has struck out 69 versus 14 walks. He will look to have a solid start for the Red Sox Thursday to try to split this series with the Rangers.
Offensively, Xander Bogaerts has probably been Boston’s best hitter as of late. The shortstop is hitting .330/.397/.585 with six home runs, 17 runs batted in and 22 runs scored in his last 30 games. One player they are still trying to get going consistently, though, is Mookie Betts. On the season, the All-Star outfielder is hitting .263/.383/.454 with 11 home runs, 31 runs batted in and 52 runs scored. While that is not the worst line in the world, it is far off the pace with past performances by Betts.
Red Sox Take Finale
As good as Adrian Sampson has been as of late, David Price has been otherworldly as of late on the mound. In his last nine starts, he is 4-1 with a 1.88 ERA and has a 1.08 ERA in his last four starts at home. He has struggled in his career against the Rangers, but I definitely ride the trend of his most recent play. With the Red Sox reeling, they really need a strong start from Price, and I think he will give it to them. For my money, I am taking the Red Sox at -220.