Cubs Host Red Sox, Visit White Sox
By: Don Best Staff
Saturday, June 16, 2012
Two fabled franchises that are both struggling take the stage on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball as the Boston Red Sox close out a weekend set with the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.
Josh Beckett was scheduled to start the series finale for Boston, but right shoulder inflammation has pushed Beckett aside and Franklin Morales will step in on Sunday. Chicago is slated to send Paul Maholm to the mound for the 8:00 p.m. (ET) broadcast.
Don Best's Kenny White originally opened the game with the Red Sox $1.75 favorites and a 7½-run total. The pitching change will invalidate those numbers, so check back with the Don Best odds screen for the adjusted money line and total.
Chicago got the win in Friday's opener behind another strong pitching performance from Ryan Dempster, who tossed seven shutout innings in the 3-0 victory as a +120 underdog. It was just the fourth win in the last 14 games for Chicago, while the defeat left Boston 3-8 in the last 11 and two games under .500. Despite their struggles, White believes the Red Sox are on the verge of finally being healthy and could be about to turn things around.
"There is help on the way," White said in reference to a roster that has dealt with an injury-depleted outfield all season. "(Cody) Ross is swinging, (Jacoby) Ellsbury is starting to work out again. We're going to see (Carl) Crawford soon. I think you're going to get all three players back at the right time for the Red Sox, and they will get hot. The Red Sox will make a difference in the playoffs."
Monday still finds the Cubs in Chicago, only not inside their friendly confines as they grab an 'L' south to open a set with the rival White Sox. A potentially great pitching matchup is in store with Matt Garza slated for the Cubbies and Jake Peavy for the ChiSox.
Don Best is sending this game out with the White Sox priced at -180 and an 8½-run total.
The Cubs have been a "hound's breakfast" on the road, Don Best analyst Brian Blessing notes of their 8-25 record outside of Wrigley. The White Sox aren't getting it done at US Cellular Field with just a 16-18 mark, but they still sit atop the AL Central heading into Saturday's contest at the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Robin Ventura's offense deserves most of the credit for the White Sox who are third in the AL averaging 4.78 runs per game and fifth with 82 home runs. Adam Dunn is the big stick with 23 homers, and Paul Konerko leads the AL with a .362 batting average.
Garza has been one of the few bright spots on the Cubs roster despite his 2-5 record. The right-hander has been the victim of poor run support, and that has been a huge reason in the Cubs dropping each of his last seven starts.
Peavy would likely win the AL Comeback Player of the Year award if the vote was taken today. Limited by injuries the past two seasons during which he recorded ERA's of 4.63 and 4.92, Peavy is 6-2 on the season with a 2.91 ERA and 0.97 WHIP through his first 13 assignments of 2012.
Stay with Don Best all season for the latest information on the MLB betting front.