MLB Odds & Picks for Athletics vs. Red Sox: Back Oakland With Sean Manaea on the Mound (Thursday, May 13)
Daniel Shirey/Getty Images. Pictured: Sean Manaea #55 of the Oakland Athletics.
Athletics vs. Red Sox Odds
|Red Sox Odds||-113|
|Over/Under||9 (-109 / -112)|
|Time||7:10 p.m. ET|
Oakland and Boston look to extend their leads atop their respective divisions Thursday at Fenway Park.
Oakland is off to a fantastic start to the 2021 season, holding a two game lead in the AL West over Houston coming into Thursday’s contest. The A’s have been fantastic in all four phases of the game, especially their starting pitching. They’ll send one of their best Sean Manaea to the mound tonight to see if he can keep the train moving in the right direction.
Boston is off to a surprising start to 2021, mainly because its offense has been one of the best in baseball. The Yankees are starting to come alive in the AL East, so the Red Sox need to continue their fantastic play at the plate in order to hold off their bitter rivals.
Oakland’s offense is off to fantastic start, ranking seventh in wRC+ at 102. However, not a lot of that success has come against right handed pitching. The A’s are hitting a measly .208 with a .294 wOBA, which ranks in the bottom five of baseball.
Despite not hitting righties well, they should have a good matchup against Garrett Richards tonight. Richards mainly uses a fastball/slider combination, which is good news for the A’s because they rank in the top half of baseball against both of those pitches.
Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox have been one of the best offenses in baseball to start the season, ranking first in wOBA and second in wRC+. One of the reasons for that is because they’ve been crushing left-handed pitching to the tune of a .332 wOBA and 111 wRC+.
However, they are likely going to have a difficult matchup against Sean Manaea, who is mainly a sinker ball guy. The Red Sox have two players in their lineup with positive run values against sinkers, so it could be a tough night for Boston’s lineup.
Starting Pitching Matchup
Sean Manaea vs. Garrett Richards
2021 Stats (via Fangraphs)
A’s Starting Pitcher
Sean Manaea, LHP
2021 Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)
Sean Manaea has been flat out awesome so far this season for A’s. Through his first seven starts he’s posted a 3.00 xERA and a 3.76 xFIP, which are the best marks of his career. Manaea is mainly a sinker ball pitcher, throwing it over 58% of the time, but what is surprising is he doesn’t have a very high ground ball rate.
Manaea’s ground ball rate of 38.4% is actually the lowest of his career. His fly ball rate is way up from last season at 39.3%, but that’s actually been a positive for him because his HR/FB of 9.10% and HR/9 rate of 0.88 are lowest of his career.
Another reason Manaea has been fantastic this season is because he’s greatly reduced the amount of hard contact he gives up. His hard contact rate is down almost 12% from last season, which is another reason why his xERA is so low.
He’ll have a fantastic matchup against a Red Sox lineup that struggles against sinkers.
Red Sox Starting Pitcher
Garrett Richards, RHP
2021 Pitch Arsenal (via Baseball Savant)
Richards struggled in 2020 with the Padres, posting a 4.58 xERA and 4.46 xFIP. His biggest problem was allowing way too much hard contact. Richards’ hard contact rate was over 39%. So far this season, Richards has been only slightly better posting a 4.55 xERA and a 4.01 xFIP.
Richards primarily uses a fastball-slider combination with a lot of velocity. He throws a hard slider that doesn’t have much horizontal movement, but it really drops off the table.
He hasn’t been effective with either pitch this season, as both are allowing a wOBA over .340. Thats not going to work against this A’s lineup because those are the two pitches they’ve had the most success against this season.
The Red Sox bullpen is pitching way better than their projections coming into the season. Boston has a 3.92 ERA and 3.63 xFIP, both of which are near the top of Major League Baseball. They are also striking out batters left and right, as they have the third highest K% in baseball.
The A’s bullpen is due for some negative regression. So far this season they’ve put up a 3.87 ERA, but has a 4.36 xFIP, which ranks in the bottom half of the league. Oakland by projection standards has the better of the two bullpens, so it’ll be interesting to see what happens in the later innings.
Athletics-Red Sox Pick
Even though the A’s have been struggling versus right handed pitching, I think this a fantastic matchup for their offense. Manaea has been lights out this season and should be able to shut down a Red Sox lineup that struggles versus sinkers.
Since I have the A’s projected at -156 for the first five innings, I think there is some value on them at -110.
Pick: A’s First Five Innings -110