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Boston Redsox vs. Texas Rangers

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7/23/12

Two struggling American League teams will square off on ESPN's Monday Night Baseball when the Texas Rangers host the Boston Red Sox in the opener of a three-game series.  The Red Sox (48-48) are in a much different position though -- currently sitting in last place in the AL East -- while the Rangers (56-38) still lead the AL West by five games despite losing two of three on the road to the second-place Los Angeles Angels over the weekend.
 
Boston appeared to be turning the corner before the weekend, taking three of four from the Chicago White Sox at Fenway Park, capped by a dramatic 3-1 victory in the series finale on a three-run walk-off home run from outfielder Cody Ross in the bottom of the ninth inning.  Instead, the Red Sox proceeded to get swept in three games at home by the Toronto Blue Jays, who passed them in the standings with a 15-7 rout on Sunday.
 
Texas (-145, O/U 10.5) has dropped three of four overall after winning five of six.  The Rangers have also had some recent success against Boston, winning four the last five meetings, with all of them taking place at Fenway.  The Red Sox swept Texas in three games last August 23-25, which is the last time they played in Arlington.
 
The Rangers will send starting pitcher Scott Feldman (3-6, 5.89 ERA) to the mound looking for his fourth win in five outings.  He actually earned a victory in relief on July 8, pitching two scoreless innings in an eventual 4-3 home win against the Minnesota Twins in 13 innings.  He has not pitched since then and will be making a spot start in place of Roy Oswalt, who was scratched due to back tightness.
 
Feldman has pitched slightly better at home this season, going 2-3 with a 4.05 ERA.  He is winless in seven career appearances against Boston with a 5.06 ERA.  The OVER has cashed in his last three home starts and is 6-3-1 in his 10 starts overall this season.
 
The Red Sox will counter with young lefty Felix Doubront (10-4, 4.24), who has been one of the few bright spots for the team this year.  They are 13-5 in his starts overall, and he has been outstanding away from home this season, going 5-1 in eight outings with a solid 3.09 ERA.
 
Doubront leads Boston's pitching staff in wins, ERA and strikeouts (99) heading into Monday's showdown with Texas.  He has faced the Rangers four times (one start) during his three-year career, going 0-1 and surrendering nine runs (seven earned) and 11 hits in 6.1 innings for a 9.95 ERA with four walks and seven strikeouts.  The OVER is 7-1-1 in his last nine starts overall.

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