Baseball Betting – Can the Surprising Red Sox Keep Up the Pace in the Second Half?

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When we talk about teams that have surprised many up to the All-Star break, the list could be lengthy. Included among them are the Pittsburgh Pirates, Cleveland Indians, Oakland Athletics, even the New York Yankees. But as VietBet baseball betting fans realize, the Boston Red Sox have to be front and center. This is a team that failed to make the playoffs last season, losing 93 games, and started 2013 without such notables as Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett, part of what was perceived to be something of a house-cleaning. And the “experiment” with Bobby Valentine at the helm did not work out, to say the least.

On top of that, the American League East is the best division in baseball, and the Toronto Blue Jays were considered by many to be a potential powerhouse, with all the additions they made in the off-season.

But low and behold, the Red Sox were leading the majors with 58 wins at the break, and unless disaster strikes, should be in the running for one of the playoff spots.

John Farrell, the former pitching coach, has been a smashing success, and although some are hesitant to give him a lot of credit, as these things go in baseball he should certainly loom as a candidate for the Manager of the Year award, along with some others. The Red Sox are currently the -140 favorite at VietBet to capture the American League East.

Now as we get going with the second half of the season (in a literal sense, we are well past the halfway mark), the question for this Boston crew, which came into the break having lost five of its last nine games, is whether they shot their load early on and will have enough to get to the finish line in great shape.

One of the bigger surprise within the Boston clubhouse is that John Lackey, who has been a serviceable pitcher throughout his career but has only occasionally shown flashes of brilliance, is the ace of the staff. His ERA as of the moment is a sizzling 2.78, and he has gone seven innings in each of his last six starts, yielding two runs or less in each of those outings.

Jon Lester (4.58 ERA) has an 8-6 record, but the Red Sox would like for him to step things up coming down the stretch. He is struggling with his control and his location, although his overall numbers are a slight improvement over last year’s disappointment.

Baseball bettors who play at VietBet know that Clay Buchholz looked like he was going to be a Cy Young candidate, and got off to a 9-0 start, but he last pitched on June 8 and has been sidelined with a multitude of problems, including a neck strain.

He did not make the rehab start in the minors that was hoped for on Sunday, although he did throw a 25-pitch bullpen session, and he may do another one this week, but on flat ground. If he is out for a while, that leaves the Sox having to continue to hope for stuff that has been better than expected from the likes of Ryan Dempster and Felix Doubront.

The bullpen has been challenged, to say the least, although that doesn’t stop this team from being the second favorites in the VietBet baseball betting odds to win the AL pennant.

Big lefty Andrew Miller has excelled as setup man, but he is injured and is out for the year, as his foot needs surgery. Joel Hanrahan, who was an All-Star level closer with Pittsburgh, got off to a slow start and is now gone for season with elbow injury that also needs surgery. Andrew Bailey, whose career WHIP is 1.06, has not done as well as expected, as he’s blown five saves in 13 chances. Thank God for Koji Uehara, who had 13 holds as a middle reliever, and has been given the ball in the short role, and has compiled a sizzling 0.76 WHIP ratio.

Offensively, they can’t ask for more than they’ve gotten from David Ortiz, who leads the team with 19 homers, 65 RBI and a .317 average, nailing the starting spot as a designated hitter in the All-Star Game. Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury are producing runs, and Mike Napoli has struggled with a .259 average and 123 strikeouts, but has actually knocked in a lot of runs (58).

Outfielder Daniel Nava has come out of almost nowhere to be a terrific contributor, and even though Will Middlebrooks was such a disappointment that he had to be sent down, Joel Iglesias has been a major surprise at shortstop. He is slick defensively and has been getting on base. Hitting .367 with a .417 on-base, he’d be leading the team in both categories if he had enough plate appearances to qualify. In fact, he’d be leading the entire American League in batting and would be second in OBP (to Miguel Cabrera) if he qualified.

Boston’s lead in the AL East is by no means secure (two and a half games) and there are only six games separating the first four teams. Furthermore, Cleveland and Texas are going to be wild card threats if they don’t win their own division titles. So there’s quite a bit of work left to be done for the Sox, who are +1000 to go all the way at VietBet.

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