Look for the hitters to take over when the Toronto Blue Jays visit the Boston Red Sox on Friday. Both starting pitchers are ripe to be ripped. Henderson Alvarez has tired dramatically since the All-Star Break, posting a 6.56 ERA and failing to record a victory since July 28. Boston’s 24-year-old starter Felix Doubront has fared just as badly in the second half, going 1-3 with a 6.75 ERA after the break.
The Red Sox were extremely listless during their recent nine-game road trip, losing eight of those contests and averaging 2.3 runs. But a return home should rejuvenate their bats. In their last five games at Fenway Park before the trip, they averaged a far more robust 7.8 runs per game. As for Toronto, they’ve also been in a bit of an offensive lull as of late, but overall they’re still ranked above the American League average in runs scored. Take over 10.0 runs at 1.90 as these lineups should surpass the under at 1.90.
In a series that will have huge implications in the National League West, the San Francisco Giants will prevail at home versus the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Giants' Tim Lincecum will be a key reason for his club’s success. You can call his recent form a mini-renaissance; after some dark age performances throughout the first half, Lincecum is reemerging as a productive pitcher. Since the All-Star Game he’s registered a reasonable 5-4 record with a 3.26 ERA. More important, he has really stepped up against the Dodgers: Lincecum’s record against San Francisco’s nearest divisional rivals is 2-1 with a 2.55 ERA.
He’ll be helped by the fact that Los Angeles are in a bit of a freefall. Coming into this series, the Dodgers are 4-6 in their last ten and have lost two straight. LA’s Josh Beckett has thrown effectively (1-1, 2.92 ERA) in his two outings since being acquired from the Boston Red Sox, but he hasn’t pitched at AT&T Park in seven years so there might be a comfort issue. Go with the Giants at 1.81 instead of the Dodgers at 2.00.