Categories: MLB

MLB Pick: Baltimore Orioles at Boston Red Sox

Entering play on Friday, the Baltimore Orioles sit ahead of the Boston Red Sox in the standings. The O’s are 5-8 thus far, which is good for third place in the AL East. The Red Sox, meanwhile, are just 4-9, which has them tied with the Blue Jays for last place. Something tells me the Red Sox won’t be looking up at the Orioles for long, however.

The reigning World Series champions have gotten off to a rocky start, to say the least. Boston has a run differential of minus-27 to this point, which is the third-worst mark in baseball ahead of only the Rockies and Marlins.

Nobody is really panicking, of course. We are just 13 games into a 162-game regular season, so the Red Sox have more than enough time left to try and figure things out. Hosting the Orioles, who may well wind up being the worst team in baseball this season, for a 3-game weekend series should help cure what ails Boston. Eduardo Rodriguez will take the mound for the Sox in the series opener Friday opposite Orioles right-hander David Hess.

The following odds are courtesy of our live odds feed:

Betting Data Orioles Red Sox
2019 Straight-Up 5-8 4-9
2019 Home 1-6 1-1
2019 Away 4-2 3-8
2019 ATR 5-8-0 1-12-0
2019 ATR Home 1-6-0 0-2-0
2019 ATR Away 4-2-0 1-10-0
2019 O/U 10-3-0 9-3-1
2019 O/U Home 7-0-0 2-0-0
2019 O/U Away 3-3-0 7-3-1

Slumping Sox

The Red Sox managed to earn a 7-6 win on Thursday night at the expense of the Blue Jays despite more struggles from starter Nathan Eovaldi. Eovaldi was tagged for 5 runs in his 5 innings of work, but Boston overcame a 6-5 deficit by scoring 2 in the ninth against Toronto closer Ken Giles.

The Sox’ offense has been fine. Not spectacular, but not disastrous. The pitching, though, has been awful. Boston’s team ERA of 6.32 to this point is the third-worst mark in baseball, ahead of only Baltimore and the Chicago White Sox.

Rodriguez has been part of the problem. The left-hander has a 12.38 ERA through his first 2 starts, though it is worth noting that those games came in difficult matchups against the Mariners and Athletics, both of whom boast powerful offenses. Still, the fact that he allowed 6 runs in each of his first 2 starts is obviously less than stellar.

The southpaw’s 15.2 percent strikeout rate so far this season is well below his career average of 23.2 percent, while his bloated 13 percent walk rate has caused most of his issues. Rodriguez has always posted fairly high walk numbers, but I’m sure that 13 percent rate will dip as the season progresses.

The Orioles currently rank 16th in team wOBA against left-handed pitching, but that’s something we can expect to change, too. Baltimore’s lineup is generally lacking much talent, and there isn’t a ton of power here, either. Other than Trey Mancini, no hitter in the lineup projects to be above-average against lefties this season. It’s about as good a get-right spot as Rodriguez can possibly get.

Long Year Ahead for O’s

Baltimore’s 5-8 start isn’t nearly as bad as many feared, but there still isn’t a ton of reason for optimism in the immediate future. The Orioles are pretty clearly in the early stages of what should be a lengthy rebuilding process, so they’re going to be taking their lumps all year.

Right-hander David Hess was one of the least effective pitchers in the league in his limited tour of duty at the major league level a season ago. However, he’s shown flashes of turning it around this year. In his first start of 2019 in Toronto, Hess no-hit the Blue Jays over the course of 6.1 strong innings while racking up 8 strikeouts. He was lifted from the game early due to his pitch limit, but it was still a stellar effort.

He came back down to earth in his last outing, however. Hess surrendered 4 runs on 5 hits in 5 innings of work in an eventual 15-3 loss at the hands of the Yankees. He surrendered 3 homers that afternoon, which was a major problem for him last year. Hess allowed 22 home runs in just 21 appearances in 2018, and he has really struggled against left-handed hitters.

Facing the powerful Red Sox lineup at Fenway is about as tough a matchup as you’ll find for any pitcher, so Hess may struggle again this evening. Hess has allowed a career wOBA of .341 to hitters from both sides of the plate. Lefties have taken him deep 15 times, while right-handers have tagged him 10 times.

The Pick

The Red Sox have been the worst bet in the league so far this season on the runline. Boston is just 1-12-0 against the runline so far this season, which is almost unspeakably bad. They’ve been betting favorites in just about every game, and they haven’t lived up to billing thus far.

However, it’s hard to imagine them not pulling this one out tonight. Oddsmakers clearly aren’t buying that Hess is a guy that may have turned a corner, and they’re also not buying the demise of the Red Sox so early in a new season.

I tend to agree. This is still largely the same cast of characters that breezed their way to a World Series title last fall, while the Orioles will be in the cellar of the AL East before long. This is just a smash spot for Boston all the way around, so I think the Red Sox against the runline here is the best bet. Ignore their lack of success against the runline to this point and bet on the Red Sox -1 ½ (-130).

Taylor Smith

Taylor Smith has been a staff writer with since early 2017. Taylor is primarily a sports writer, though he will occasionally dabble in other things like politics and entertainment betting. His primary specialties are writing about the NBA, Major League Baseball, NFL and domestic and international soccer. Fringe sports like golf and horse racing aren’t exactly his cup of tea, but he’s willing to take one for the team on that front every now and then.

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