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Red Sox Open Series With Rangers

With the Rangers in town, Boston will look to continue its winning ways.

With the Rangers in town, Boston will look to continue its winning ways.

The Boston Red Sox welcome the Texas Rangers to Fenway Park Tuesday for the opener of a three-game set between the division-leading sides.

The two sides met earlier this season in Arlington, Texas, with the Rangers sweeping the series. The Red Sox will look to avenge those losses while padding their lead at the top of the AL East. The Rangers meanwhile will look to snatch bragging rights from their East Coast counterparts, while maintaining a slim lead over the Oakland Athletics in the AL West.

First pitch is scheduled for 7:10 pm ET.

Game Preview

Seven wins in the last 10 games coupled with a slump by the New York Yankees has seen Boston (35-23, 17-12 home) once again take control of the AL East.

Boston picked up the win in Sunday’s truncated game at Yankee Stadium to take the series 2-1 and leave the Yankees trailing by three games. The rain delayed game has since become the stuff of comedy gold.

The Yankees picked up a 7-4 win over the Cleveland Indians on Monday night, creeping a little closer to the division leaders in the process. Boston will want to pick up wins over the Rangers to keep its bitter rival from creeping any closer.

Texas (35-21, 17-13 road) picked up its third win in four games on Sunday, defeating the Kansas City Royals 3-1 to win the weekend series 2-1.

Like the Red Sox, the Arlington-based club holds a slim lead at the top of its division, edging Oakland by 1 1/2 games going into play on Tuesday. With the Los Angeles Angels struggling – the team from Anaheim was swept in a four-game series by the lowly Houston Astros this past weekend – we could be looking at a two-horse race already out west, but the Rangers will need to secure wins now to make sure that is the case.

Boston has struggled against the Rangers in recent times, at Fenway Park in particular. Texas has taken 10 of the last 13 at the historic ballpark. That’s one trend the Boston faithful would like to see snapped right now.

The Red Sox will look to get solid performances from former Ranger Mike Napoli (45 RBIs), Daniel Nava (37) and David Ortiz (36), each of which is in the American League’s Top 12 in RBIs. They’ll also hope for more of the same from Dustin Pedroia, who has hit in seven straight games and 23 of the last 25, a streak that includes 11 multi-hit games. With a .333 batting average, Pedroia sits fourth in the AL.

Texas meanwhile will hope to have Adrian Beltre back. Beltre missed Sunday’s stormy affair with a mild hamstring strain but could take to the field Tuesday. Beltre (11 HR, 34 RBI, .305) has led the team to its strong start and has the potential to make a difference in every game he plays. In his last nine games the third baseman has gone 16 for 38 (.421).

Beltre’s not the only Ranger that’s hot right now. Rookie Jurickson Profar has averaged .324 with 12 hits, two homers and six RBIs since being called up 10 days ago to replace Ian Kinsler (ribs), currently on the 15-day DL.

Rookie Justin Grimm has had a solid start to the season. Can he produce against Boston?

Rookie Justin Grimm has had a solid start to the season. Can he produce against Boston?

Starting Pitchers

Justin Grimm (5-3, 3.93 ERA) will toe the rubber for the visiting team. The rookie pitcher has performed well above expectations since being called up to replace an injured Matt Harrison in April, and is a winner in his last three starts.

Grimm led the Rangers to victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks in his last start (May 30), giving up three runs on eight hits in six innings of play. He is 2-2 with one No Decision this season when playing on the road. Tuesday marks the first time he has played the Red Sox.

Boston will send Ryan Dempster (2-6, 4.45 ERA) to the mound for his 12th appearance for the club. Dempster has struggled since joining the Sox as a free agent this past summer, and has lost four of his last five starts. His last win came back on May 2 against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Dempster recorded a 7-3 record with Texas last season after joining the club before the trade deadline. He’ll be looking to edge his former employers tonight at Fenway.

Perennially a National League pitcher, Dempster has just one appearance against the Texas Rangers in his 16 years in the big leagues. On June 19 2007 he pitched one relief inning for the Chicago Cubs, striking out the side to earn a save.

Ryan Dempster will be hoping Tuesday night's game turns his season around.

Ryan Dempster will be hoping Tuesday night’s game turns his season around.

Betting Lines

Texas Rangers vs. Boston Red Sox odds for 6/4/13 are available now.

Boston (-146) opened as the favorite over Texas (+136) on the moneyline but the majority of sportsbooks have shortened those odds slightly.

The Rangers were favored in each of the games played in Arlington earlier this year, and recorded the win each time. In fact, the Rangers are 11-3 in their last 14 games against Boston, and 10-3 in the last 13 played at Fenway Park.

The total opened at 10 but most bookmakers currently have it at 9 1/2.

Boston (29-26-3) has favored the over this season while Texas (21-32-3) has favored the under.

The total – which was set at nine each game – went under in all three meetings between the sides back in early May.

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