Braves vs. Red Sox MLB Odds, Picks, Predictions: Aging Starters Charlie Morton, Rich Hill Should Get Hit Around (Tuesday, August 9)
Paul Rutherford/Getty Images. Pictured: Rich Hill
Braves vs. Red Sox Odds
|Red Sox Odds||+125|
|Time||7:10 p.m. ET|
Thank God for Mac Jones looking ripped now and Patrice Bergeron returning to the Bruins, because this summer has been a huge disappointment in Boston.
Since July 1, the Red Sox are just 11-22 and have slid down to the bottom of the AL East standings. They seem to be featured on Not Top 10 every week, and now welcome in the defending World Series champions.
Atlanta is coming off a tough series that could make its title defense a little more difficult. The Braves just lost four games in a five-game series with the Mets to fall 6.5 games back in the NL East standings. They still hold the top wild-card spot, but are currently staring down a wild-card series with the Phillies or all-in Padres.
Both teams enjoyed a nice Monday off to reset and are desperate to turn things around and bounce back quickly. Who will have the advantage on Tuesday in a matchup between two veteran pitchers?
Braves' Offense Feasts On Lefties
Thirty-eight-year-old Charlie Morton is the young pup in this matchup and will be making his 22nd start of the season. He has amassed a 5-5 record with a 4.09 ERA and 4.14 xERA. Over his last nine starts, he has really settled in, pitching to a 2.40 ERA with a 3.19 xFIP.
The Connecticut native is known as “Ground Chuck” for his ability to pound the bottom of the strike zone and generate ground balls. However, his ground ball rate has plummeted this season. After peaking in 2016 with a 65.9% rate, and still being at 49.5% last season, Morton is producing grounders just 38.5% of the time this year. He rarely even throws his sinker anymore.
Atlanta’s offense is chock-full of stars and it has shown through its fourth ranked wOBA. It is even better against left-handed pitchers, sitting second in the league. Over the last month, though, the Braves have been just league average.
On a team with superstars Ronald Acuna Jr. and Matt Olson, it has been Austin Riley who has emerged as a legitimate MVP candidate. He sits fifth in the league with a .400 wOBA and has the fourth-most hits and home runs, with 29.
Red Sox Turn to Hill
Forty-two-year-old Rich Hill is the second-oldest player in the MLB this season, behind only Albert Pujols. He has battled injures a bit, making just 16 starts on the year. He sports a 4-5 record with a 4.52 ERA and 4.59 xERA.
Never exactly a flame thrower, Hill’s velocity sits at just 88.3 mph and he now throws his curveball more than his fastball. His curveball has actually been OK this season, it’s his fastball and slider than have been hit hard.
Boston’s offense has been fairly league average this season, The Red Sox have a top-heavy lineup with stars and then a big drop off. Their stars have been super streaky this season. Trevor Story got hot for like two weeks but has just 93 wRC+ this year.
Rafael Devers, Xander Bogaerts and J.D. Martinez are the only players on this team with a wRC+ above 105. Their young guys Bobby Dalbec and Jarren Duran have both really struggled at the plate and left the top guys alone to carry the whole offense.
Braves-Red Sox Pick
Some things get better with age. Major league pitchers tend not to be one of them, though. These two seasoned veterans have enjoyed long successful careers but are both clearly over the hill and on the backend of their careers.
Hill has really struggled in his new home. He holds a 6.49 ERA at Fenway Park this year. He now has to face an angry Braves team that smashes left-handed pitching.
Morton has been better as of late but he still allows a ton of hard contact. He struggles to generate groundballs the way he used to and has had issues with his control at times.
I like the over 9.5 as my best play in this matchup.
Pick: Over 9.5 (-105)