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Hellickson Tries To Rebound As The Rays Fight For Positioning In A.L. East

Posted by Dale "Skip" Lalonde on 6/18/2013 7:33:01 PM

In the course of a Major League Baseball season, you’re going to find some June games that stand out more than others. Rays-Red Sox on Wednesday is just such an example.

Tampa Bay Rays @ Boston Red Sox – Wednesday, June 19
Sport betting line: no line

Why Tampa Bay Will Win

When the best online betting sites tackle this clash, they will view it as a tough one to pick. The Rays have to feel that they have an opening in this game against Boston because the Red Sox simply have not supported their starting pitcher, Ryan Dempster, with many runs this season, as ESPN’s game notes indicate: “Dempster allowed two runs on five hits and five walks, while striking out four in 7 2/3 innings, in Boston's loss to Baltimore on Friday… The Red Sox desperately needed a starter to go deep and got it Friday. Unfortunately, their bats went into a deep slumber against Orioles right-hander Chris Tillman. Dempster is now 4-7 on the season, and Boston has scored 13 total runs in those seven losses.”

If Boston’s bats are not ready to respond on Wednesday, Tampa Bay starter Jeremy Hellickson could find the tonic he needs to get his season on track. Hellickson owns a bloated 5.67 ERA as he takes the bump in this game at Fenway Park. He has been a profound disappointment for the Rays this season and needs to hit his stride in order for this team to make the playoffs in a contentious American League East. With the Toronto Blue Jays on a six-game winning streak and threatening to reach the .500 mark, all five teams could soon be in the running for a playoff spot, so the Rays need every bit of production they can get from their starting rotation, especially since staff ace David Price has been dealing with an injury. This is a big moment for Hellickson, and against Boston’s inconsistent batting order, he just might be able to break through.

Why Boston Will Win

This is not poker, but the Red Sox clearly have the better dealer in this contest. You saw the numbers above: Ryan Dempster pitched well for Boston last weekend in Baltimore against the formidable Orioles. Dempster’s win-loss record in his 11 decisions should not be the standard by which the quality of his pitching is judged. He’s been very solid for the BoSox this season. You’ll notice that Dempster had a rough time in the first three weeks of May, but that’s been the only stretch of the season in which he’s underperformed. In April, he was very solid, and in the final week of May, he regained his April form. He’s delivering quality starts on a consistent basis – he’s four of his last four in that regard – and so the Red Sox should be able to fend off Tampa Bay here.

Who Will Win?

The pitching matchup favors Boston, but Tampa Bay has more to play for in this series. The Rays know that they have to work their way up the ladder and escape fourth place in their division. The power of urgency will carry the visitors to a win in Fenway on Wednesday evening.

MLB Betting Pick: Tampa Bay

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