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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Saturday, April 19, 2014 at 7:00 PM

It has been a disappointing start so far to the 2014 season for the defending World Champion Boston Red Sox. They entered the weekend in last place in the competitive AL East. The good news is that the division is so competitive that the teams are tightly packed from first to worst. The bad news is that it’s likely to be a tight division for weeks…which will make it harder for the Red Sox to get hot and surge back into the playoffs.

The unbalanced schedules in Major League Baseball make it tough for any team in a strong division to make a run at 95 wins. Boston has the added disadvantages of not having a chip on their shoulder, and of dealing with some veterans who may be getting old at once.

Look at these miserable offensive statistics out of the gate for the Red Sox…as they prepare for Sunday Night’s encounter with the Baltimore Orioles that will be nationally televised by ESPN.

 

OFFENSE

Baltimore: 4.27 runs per game, .313 on-base, .393 slugging

Boston: 3.53 runs per game, .324 on-base, .345 slugging

That’s not Boston baseball! And, they get to play their home games in hitting friendly Fenway Park! The putrid slugging percentage of .345 ranks #13 in the American League. Boston’s slugging like the minor leagues on Houston’s roster. The on-base percentage ranks a more reasonable #7. But…this is a sabermetric team that’s supposed to emphasize getting on base. It’s a surprise any time the Red Sox are outside of the top four in that skill set.

We haven’t talked about Baltimore yet. The Orioles started kind of slow themselves. Friday Night’s win at Fenway pushed them past the .500 mark. This offense should be doing better than #11 in on-base percentage and #7 in slugging. Where has all the scoring gone in the AL East?

Maybe the Beantown faithful will see some Red Sox runs this time around. Look at the pitching stats of Sunday’s schedule opposing hurler…

 

PROBABLE PITCHERS

Ubaldo Jiminez: 7.31 ERA, 2.06 WHIP, 7.3 K-Rate

Jake Peavy: 1.93 ERA, 1.18 WHIP, 9.64 K-Rate

Jiminez has been a disaster so far for Baltimore, He’s allowed at least four earned runs in all three of his outings. That’s particularly painful because all three of those losses came in the division. This will be his second start against Boston. The Red Sox scored four runs in six innings against him back on April 2.

Peavy has been effective, but fortunate in his three outings for Boston. He’s thrown quality starts against Milwaukee, Texas, and the Chicago White Sox. But, only four of 22 baserunners have crossed the plate despite Peavy’s having allowed three home runs! He’s not pitching as well as that ERA would suggest given 10 walks and three home runs in three games. Nobody stays that lucky forever. Peavy is certainly pitching a lot better than Jiminez so far.

Sunday’s sports schedule is absolutely jam-packed, so there’s no guarantee at press time that Baltimore/Boston is going to show up as a major release. We’re also looking at St. Louis/Washington, LA Angels/Detroit, NY Yankees/Tampa Bay and a few other juicy matchups in baseball. Today’s NBA quadrupleheader features Dallas/San Antonio, Charlotte/Miami, Washington/Chicago, and Portland/Houston.

Be sure you check the website Sunday morning for the final word. You can purchase BEST BETS in the NBA Playoffs and Major League baseball with your credit card. If you have any questions, call us in the office at 1-888-777-4155. Be sure to ask about longterm packages when you call. You can sign up for baseball and basketball through the NBA Playoffs or the MLB All-Star Break.

It’s back to NBA Playoff coverage the next several days. We’ve already looked at Memphis/Oklahoma City and Portland/Houston. The other six first round series will get showcase attention this week on the following schedule:  

 

Monday: Golden State at LA Clippers Game Two

Tuesday: Washington at Chicago Game Two

Wednesday: Dallas at San Antonio Game Two

Thursday: Indiana at Atlanta Game Three

Friday: Toronto at Brooklyn Game Three

Saturday: Miami at Charlotte Game Three

 

Whether it’s baseball, basketball, or the upcoming KENTUCKY DERBY, you’re always going to GET THE MONEY with JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK!

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