Some people still don’t like interleague play in Major League Baseball. And it is odd that now there is at least one interleague series always going on because there are 15 teams in each league. And it’s still rather stupid the American League has a designated hitter and the National League doesn’t meaning interleague game in an NL park don’t include the DH but those in AL parks do. But for all of interleague play’s faults, it also brings us fantastic matchups we might not otherwise see. And that’s the case in a quick two-game series in San Francisco starting on Tuesday night in a potential World Series preview with the Boston Red Sox in town. The Sox are +400 favorites on betting odds to win the AL pennant and the Giants are +535 to win the NL. Of course it’s an even-numbered year and San Francisco has won the pennant and World Series each even-numbered year this decade. Boston leads the AL East and the Giants are atop the NL West so we might see this again in October.
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The teams last met in August 2013, and the Red Sox took the series, winning two out of three games with a high run margin. That was the last year the Red Sox won the World Series.
What will Boston do with designated hitter David Ortiz? The future Hall of Famer is 40 years old and will retire after this season yet amazingly is having perhaps the best year of his career. But Ortiz isn’t a very good defensive first baseman, which is the only other place he could play in order to keep his bat in the lineup. It’s expected that Ortiz will only start one of the two game and then be able to pinch-hit in the other. Ortiz is still recovering from some foot soreness and with no DH available in the series, the Red Sox will use it as an opportunity to give him one day of rest. He leads the American League in on-base percentage (.424), doubles (26, a record pace) and runs batted in (54).
Boston is a slight favorite on betting picks for Tuesday’s opener behind Rick Porcello. The sinkerballer has struggled of late, giving up four runs or more in three of his past four starts. In his last start against the Orioles, Porcello gave up three home runs and took a no-decision. He is opposed by Albert Suarez. The 26-year-old rookie right-hander had his moments in his first big-league start last Wednesday, retiring the first nine batters and demonstrating decent velocity with a fastball that reached 96 mph.
Wednesday’s matchup is the one to circle as it’s former Cy Young winner David Price against former World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner in a showdown of two of the best left-handed pitchers in baseball.
Price has gained some momentum, posting five consecutive quality starts in which he’s lowered his ERA from 6.75 to 4.88. This will be Price’s first career start at AT&T Park. In two starts against the Giants, he is 0-1 with a 3.06 ERA. Bumgarner has won six consecutive decisions over a span of eight starts. Overall, the Giants are 9-3 this season in his outings. Lifetime, Bumgarner is 7-7 with a 3.76 ERA in 17 Interleague starts. Don’t rule out Bumgarner going yard. He has two homers this season and his 13 career homers top all active pitchers. Bumgarner wants to be the Home Run Derby at the All-Star Game, but the team isn’t about to let its ace do that and risk injury.