Baseball Opening Day: Boston Red Sox vs. Texas Rangers Pick 4/1/11
Boston Red Sox
The Texas Rangers open up their defense of their American League pennant on Friday afternoon in Arlington, and they do so against one of the favorites to win it all this season, the Boston Red Sox.
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The Red Sox went out in this offseason, and they figured out how to take advantage of a lot of the weaker financial teams in the market. General Manager Theo Epstein arguably pulled off of great coup when he signed Carl Crawford away from the clutches of the Tampa Bay Rays and several other suitors. Of course, that might not have been his best move of the offseason either. Kevin Youkilis moved across the diamond back to third base where he started his career to make room for Adrian Gonzalez, who was acquired from the San Diego Padres for a hoard of prospects. This new look bunch makes its debut in this one with Jon Lester on the bump. In a season with very few positives, relatively speaking, Lester was one of the bright spots for the Sox. He went 19-9 and finished just short of 20 wins on the season, and he had a rock solid 3.25 ERA. This southpaw is really coming on strong as a legitimate No. 1 starter in this league, and the possibility is there that he could develop into a Cy Young Award contender this season.
It’s hard to not feel sorry for the Rangers. Last year during the season, we gave them all of the credit in the world for trading a good chunk of their farm system to get Cliff Lee, a move which paid dividends in the postseason and pitched the Rangers into the World Series. However, Texas wasn’t able to woo him in the offseason, and when push really came to shove, the Philadelphia Phillies came out of nowhere and snatched him up. Gone also are Vladimir Guerrero and Bengie Molina, and there isn’t a heck of a lot that has come in to get overly excited about. The biggest problem that Nolan Ryan and company have over in the Lone Star State right now is that the team just doesn’t have a bona fide No. 1 starter. Don’t get us wrong, we think that CJ Wilson did a great job in the playoffs last year… as a No. 2… He’s just not No. 1 material. Wilson went 15-8 last season in his first full year as a starter, and he did have a 3.35 ERA and three complete games. He also didn’t flame out in the playoffs like many thought that he would, proving that he indeed can start in this league. We’re just not sure that his place is Opening Day.
The Red Sox have won 70 of Lester’s last 99 starts on grass, and that’s one of these trends that you just can’t ignore. Texas will win MLB betting battles in this series and plenty this year at home, but this won’t be one of them. Back the Sox.
MLB Free Pick: Boston Red Sox
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