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MLB Odds & Baseball Betting Picks: July 9th 2008

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Minnesota Twins @ Boston Red Sox u9.0 (105) MLB Odds – Wed July 9 ’08 1:05p
The Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins went Over last night after a 1-0 game in the series opener, but we look for the total output tonight to be closer to the first game of this series than Game 2. Red Sox ace Josh Beckett is in good form, as he has rattled off four straight Quality Starts and he has seven such outings in his last eight starts. After a bit of a rough start this season, Beckett now has a 3.70 ERA and an excellent 1.11 WHIP, and we see no reason why he cannot dominate the rest of the year like Boston expected him to right out of the gate. Now Livan Hernandez does put too many men on base for our taste for Minnesota, be he does have three Quality Starts in his last four outings, and his nine wins this season are not a total fluke, as he has made an art out of pitching well with runners on. His first start vs. the Red Sox this season was a typical one, as he allowed 10 hits yet recorded a Quality Start, allowing three runs in six innings of a 7-3 Minnesota win. While their styles may differ, look for both starters to keep the scoring down in this game. MLB Free Pick: Twins, Red Sox Under 9 (+105)
Chicago White Sox (-125) MLB Odds – Wed July 9 ’08 8:10p
Javier Vazquez of the Chicago White Sox and Brian Bannister of the Kansas City Royals may be off form lately, but the recent performances of these pitchers vs. their respective opponents tonight and a super Chicago bullpen should make the difference. Besides, Vazquez did appear to turn things around last start, tossing a Complete Game four-hitter with 10 strikeouts in a tough-luck 3-2 loss to the Oakland Athletics, snapping a streak of five straight starts without a Quality Start. He was certainly dominant the last time he faced the Royals last September, allowing two runs on five hits in eight innings with an impressive 13 strikeouts. Bannister, on the other hand, is showing no signs of improvement, allowing a total of 13 earned runs in just 9.2 innings over his last two starts. He was also hit hard in each of his last two starts vs. the White Sox, which both came last September, as he surrendered a total of 11 earned runs in only 5.2 total innings over two outings. Finally, Vazquez figures to get more bullpen support if necessary, as the White Sox lead the American League and rank second in the majors with a 2.80 pen ERA, while the Royals rank ninth out of 14 American League teams at 4.00. MLB Free Pick: White Sox -125

Houston Astros (-115) MLB Odds – Wed July 9 ’08 7:05p
The Houston Astros (41-50) enter into todays tilt against the Pittsburgh Pirates (42-47) trying to end a four game winless streak vs the Bucks , which includes losing the first two contests of their current three game series here in PNC Park. The Houston Astros have a very good chance, of avoiding the sweep, as they will have an opportunity to go up against a pitcher , Ben Van Benschoten (1-2, 10.64 ERA), that has recorded some horrendous numbers during his brief mlb career. The right handed hurler has the dubious distinction of owning the worst career ERA (9.04) in history ,among pitchers with at least 75 innings of work. He owns a 1-10 life time record along a with a ugly 8.82 ERA in 16 career starts. Meanwhile, the Astros will respond with the capable Brian Moehler (4-4 , 4.13 ERA). The righty thrower has allowed 3 ERs or less in 8 of his 10 starts this season, and 2 ERs or less in 5 of those outings. Considering how badly Ben Van Benschoten , has pit ched for the Pirates in the past, it will be an easy decision to keep fading him until he proves himself competent at this level. Final notes & Key Trends: The Pirates have lost 17 of their 24 games after a win. Play on the Astros

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