Astros vs. Red Sox Betting Odds & Pick: Houston Turns to Zack Greinke to Save ALCS

Astros vs. Red Sox Betting Odds & Pick: Houston Turns to Zack Greinke to Save ALCS article feature image

Bob Levey/Getty Images. PIctured: Zack Greinke

Astros vs. Red Sox Odds

Astros Odds+116
Red Sox Odds-136
Time8:08 p.m. ET
Odds via DraftKings. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

José Urquidy and the rest of the Houston Astros pitching staff did not do themselves any favors in Game 3 of the ALCS in Boston. The Red Sox put up 12 runs, and the game was over relatively early.

Zack Greinke will face Nick Pivetta in Tuesday night’s clash, but each starter’s usage will likely be limited. The longest Nick Pivetta has gone this postseason was 4 2/3, and Greinke has only thrown one inning. Likely, the Astros will have to tax the rest of their short-handed bullpen in order to stave off a 3-1 advantage for Boston. Pivetta did have some issues in the second half, so who has the edge here?

Houston Astros

Seemingly every pitcher for the Astros saw at least an inning in Monday’s game. Zack Greinke will pitch at most two-to-three innings. In fact, before the playoffs, he pitched only once since September 19, so he may not be conditioned for long distance.

Likely, Christian Javier will follow him. Unfortunately for Greinke, the Red Sox feast on four-seamers from righties thrown at his speed (87 – 90 MPH). They owned a .375 xwOBA in the regular season. They also like changeups, which is his go-to second pitch (.330 xwOBA).

Greinke could take an early exit, so that leads to Javier. Javier has thrown 4 2/3 scoreless innings (two against the Red Sox), so if Greinke sees any semblance of trouble, Javier will enter the game. He throws his fastball nearly 60% of the time, and even if the Red Sox struggled the last time they saw Javier in relief, they may be in a decent spot this time, as they had a .361 xwOBA on righty fastballs at the same velocity as Javier’s.

Either way, Astros pitching may be in a tough spot to start.

astros vs. royals-odds-preview-predictions-mlb-monday-august 16-2021
Nick Cammett/Diamond Images via Getty Images. Pictured: Jake Odorizzi

That said, Kendall Graveman, Ryan Pressly and Jake Odorizzi look to also be available. The former two are the best options for the Astros, but they will have their work cut out for them should Greinke and Javier struggle.

Now, Nick Pivetta has been solid in the postseason, but there is a reason Boston is throwing him here. If the Sox win his start, they basically take the series, and Houston knows that.

Do not forget that Houston owned the second-best wRC+ against righties since August 1 (only behind Boston). Pivetta will have a hard time with his command because eight batters in Houston’s lineup versus right-handers have at least a 100 wRC+ this season.

Four active hitters are above a 10% walk rate, and Kyle Tucker, Alex Bregman, Michael Brantley, José Altuve, and Yuli Gurriel all own a sub-20% strikeout rate when facing righties on the season. Look for the ball in play since this is such a poor matchup for Pivetta.

Boston Red Sox

Pivetta does have a solid 3.81 xERA on the season, but as noted above, he has a hard time keeping the ball in the zone. His 9.8% walk rate is concerning, and he also allowed over a 40% Hard-Hit rate in the regular season. He should exit the game prematurely.

The Red Sox, on the other hand, should crush Greinke and Javier. Their 123 wRC+ against righties since August 1 was on full display Monday night and should be again early Tuesday. Like Houston, they only have one or two hitters below the 100 wRC+ mark in the lineup, so it is strong top-to-bottom.

Bobby Dalbec has had some issues thus far in the postseason, so there is a high likelihood Alex Cora trots out the same lineup as Monday. If this is the case, the Red Sox lineup should continue to mash baseballs on Tuesday.

Finally, the Boston bullpen will not be as exhausted as Houston’s in Tuesday’s matchup. Look for Tanner Houck, Ryan Brasier, Garrett Whitlock and Adam Ottavino to all be ready to go in relief of Pivetta, who can maybe go another four for the Red Sox. These are all right-handers, though, so keep that in mind with this potent Houston lineup.

Astros-Red Sox Pick

Tuesday’s ALCS game screams “bet the over”. There are far too many mismatches for each team’s pitching staff to overcome. Both of these lineups can throttle right-handed pitching, which there should be a plethora of on Tuesday night, even in relief. Take the over 10 runs (-110), and play to 10.5 (-110).

Pick: Over 10 (-110), play to Over 10.5 (-110)

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