I'll take one of those qualifying favourites here in Boston. This is a terrific matchup between Schilling and Smoltz and I'm well aware of the Smoltz lifetime ledger vs. the Red Sox. He's never given up an earned run to them. But throughout those previous efforts, Atlanta was always fielding a very good squad. That isn't the case these days. The Braves are a bad team right now. Their offense has been sketchy, their bullpen is lousy and they seem to be lacking confidence.
Schilling is doing a very solid job fo! r the Sox. He's giving up his homers like he usually does, but they continue to be solo shots. I won't be at all surprised to see a couple of Atlanta long balls today. I will be surprised if they toss up any crooked numbers.
The Red Sox have gotten healthy with these two wins and have actually belted the ball in their last three games as the loss in the Minnesota series finale was ludicrous. (Keep that in mind the next time Silva throws for the Twins. If you look at his pitching line, you'll see six innings of scoreless ball. If you saw the game, you know it's a miracle he didn't get torched. He gave up one shot after another but everything was at someone...or off that g.d. roof.) While I don't envision the Red Sox pasting Smoltz, I look for them to get a few runs off him. Plus, Smoltz has been laboring a bit lately. He's still getting people out, but has been gassed by about the sixth inning in recent starts. I'll be happy to be even through six here and take my chanc! es against that Atlanta bullpen.
Papelbon has worked th! e last couple days for Boston, but I imagine he's still available if needed late today. If not, they have Timlin back off the DL and he can close the show if necessary. Couple that with Atlanta's disastrous recent form and the fact that the sweep trend is working extremely well and the Red Sox are very playable at -120