MLB Betting: Boston's Lester to step up against Tampa Bay

When Barry Zito is pitching on the road it’s always a good bet to go against him. Tuesday will be no different as his San Francisco Giants visit the Cincinnati Reds. Zito is dismal in away contests, posting a 0-6 record and a 9.89 ERA in 2013.

If that was generally bad enough, Reds hitters have a great history against Zito. In 121 plate appearances, Cincinnati batters possess a .311 batting average and a healthy .417 slugging percentage. 

While Zito did pitch a relatively painless four innings at Cincinnati on July 3, allowing just one run, the key stat in that game is he gave up a whopping seven hits in the brief outing. This suggests he got way without more damage based more on luck than on good pitching.

The Reds will counter with pitcher Tony Cingrani, who has been excellent in the starting rotation since replacing injured ace Johnny Cueto at the start of July. In three starts, he’s given up just five earned runs in 16 2/3 innings, striking out 20 batters. The upshot, back the Reds for the win.

The Boston Red Sox should capture an important victory at home versus the Tampa Bay Rays. The Red Sox send Jon Lester to the pitcher’s mound. While it has been a tough year overall for Lester (he’s saddled with a 4.58 ERA), nearly all of his struggles have come on the road.

At Fenway Park, he’s looked like his usual excellent self, going 3-0 with a 2.96 ERA in seven starts. He also has a lot of experience against Rays hitters (280 plate appearances) and has kept them to a cumulative .230 batting average. The Red Sox, who lead the American League in runs scored per game, will be happy to face Roberto Hernandez.

The right-hander has been one of the Rays less effective starters this season. And, in particular, has been horrible on the road, where he’s 1-6 with a 5.74 ERA. Throughout his career, Fenway Park has been a nightmare for Hernandez. In four career appearances there, he owns a whopping 10.00 ERA.

Best bet: Boston to beat Tampa Bay at 1.68