Orioles vs. Red Sox: Boston SP Jon Lester Lands in a Perfect Situation

Jeff GrantContributor IMay 4, 2012

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - APRIL 23: Jon Lester #31 of the Boston Red Sox delivers a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning on April 23, 2012 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
Hannah Foslien/Getty Images

The Baltimore Orioles (16-9) and Boston Red Sox (11-13) will open up a three-game American League East series on Friday night at Fenway Park, with the first pitch scheduled for 7:10 p.m. ET.

Las Vegas oddsmakers have established the Red Sox as -160 home favorites, while the total holds steady at 8.5.

Boston scored just five runs in dropping the final two games of a three-game home set against the Oakland Athletics, which was definitely surprising due to the club leading the majors with a .556 slugging percentage entering Wednesday's 4-2 setback to end the series.

The Red Sox are just 4-7 at home this season, including losses in both tries as a favorite of -150 to -175, with both of those games going "under" the total.

Jon Lester (1-2, 4.65 ERA) gives the club an outstanding opportunity to enter back into the win column, bringing in a perfect 14-0 record and a 2.36 ERA in 18 career starts versus the Orioles. The left-hander was 1-0 with a 2.57 ERA in two outings in this series in 2011.

Sports bettors should still be cautious due to the Red Sox losing his last five starts versus divisional foes, while the "under" is 7-3 in the last 10 games in that situation.

Baltimore is a dangerous team after winning two of three road games against the New York Yankees earlier this week, moving its series record to 10-2-1 since Sept. 12 of last year. The Orioles pitching staff leads the AL and is third in the majors with a 2.83 ERA.

Wei-Yin Chen (2-0, 2.22 ERA) has led the squad to three wins in his first four MLB starts, which includes a 10-1 home win over the Oakland Athletics his last time out. He allowed one run and six hits over seven frames in that effort.

BALTIMORE, MD - APRIL 28:  Wei-Yin Chen #16 of the Baltimore Orioles pitches during a baseball game against the Oakland Athletics at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on April 28, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland.  (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

The left-hander has performed well on the road in compiling a 1-0 mark and 2.31 ERA, as he's yet to surrender a home run in 11.2 combined frames away from Baltimore.

The Orioles have won both of his road starts against the Chicago White Sox and Los Angeles Angels by the same 3-2 score.

Don't get blinded by Lester's career numbers against the Orioles, as they've managed to win their last seven road games versus left-handed starters, with the "under" going 4-1-1 in the last six opportunities.

Weather forecasts suggest cloudy skies and potential thunderstorms in the area, with game-time temperatures in the mid 50s and a slight eastern breeze of 5-10 mph (in from right).


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