MLB Odds, Pick, Prediction: Orioles vs. Red Sox Betting Preview (Saturday, August 14)
Billie Weiss/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images. Pictured: Chris Sale.
- Boston hosts Baltimore at Fenway Park for the second of their three-game series.
- Chris Sale makes his first start in nearly two years for the Red Sox, looking to stop the downward slide Boston has made in the standings.
- Tanner McGrath breaks the game down below and how he would bet on the AL East matchup.
Orioles vs. Red Sox Odds
|Red Sox Odds
|4:10 p.m. ET
Boston is in a tailspin, but they’re getting a boost today. Chris Sale is currently preparing to make his first start in almost two years, and it's in front of the Fenway faithful.
Plus, the Red Sox picked up a big win last night in this series opener, as the Orioles lost their ninth straight game. Kyle Schwarber made his Red Sox debut as well, picking up two walks and scoring both times.
The Red Sox are just 7-4 against Baltimore this season but are now 6-2 in their last eight contests against the Orioles.
The eyes of the baseball world will be on Sale, but does that mean the Red Sox are guaranteed winners in this one? Let’s see if we can find any value.
At Least Orioles Have Mullins
From the outside looking in, it seems like Baltimore should fear Sale. However, the metrics suggest otherwise.
The Orioles have feasted on southpaws all season. Baltimore has posted the fourth best OPS (.769) and the sixth best wRC+ (110) against LHPs this year, although those numbers have lagged in recent weeks.
Speaking of lefty mashers, the O’s have found something in Cedric Mullins. He’s working on a 20-game hit streak, where he’s smacked 19 singles, four doubles, a triple and four home runs in the process. Mullins is batting .364 during that stretch and has raised his OPS from .911 to .936 in the process.
Unfortunately, the O’s have not found something in today’s starter, Jorge López. The sinkerballer ranks among the bottom 16% of pitchers in xERA (5.26), xBA (.270) and xwOBA (.347). As such, he’s posted a 5.75 ERA and a 1.60 WHIP this season while being one of the least profitable pitchers in MLB:
He might be due for a bit of positive regression, however. López has also posted a .335 BABIP – which should regress to league average .300 – and his xFIP is down at 4.51. He’s mightily struggled with his control this season, walking over four batters per nine innings, but I would also hope that number comes down to his career average of 3.53.
Either way, I’ll never feel comfortable backing López.
Can Sale Save Red Sox?
Oh my god … we made it.
Sale’s return has been long awaited in Boston, as Red Sox fans are searching for a season savior. The Red Sox are 15-20 since July started, while their three biggest division rivals (Tampa Bay, New York, Toronto) are a combined 27 games over .500 in that stretch.
It wasn’t even a month ago that the Sox had a three-game lead in the division, and they now find themselves five games back of Tampa and just two games up on the Yankees for the second wild-card spot.
The starting pitching has been the focus of the blame, especially since Boston didn’t acquire an arm at the deadline. As such, the weight of the entire New England baseball community rests squarely on Sale’s shoulders.
That begs the question: Is Sale up to the task?
His Minor League appearances suggest so. Sale threw 20 innings between Double-A Portland and Triple-A Worcester, allowing just three runs and striking out 35 in the process.
All 8 Chris Sale strikeouts, for your viewing pleasure pic.twitter.com/JstNTNi5h2
— Worcester Red Sox (@WooSox) August 8, 2021
It seems like the fastball might have lost a bit of juice, but there were reports that he was hitting 97 on the gun in some starts. Nevertheless, his classic fastball-slider combo overpowered Minor League hitters.
But will it be enough to lift Boston back to the top of the division?
Perhaps Sale and Schwarber together can achieve that lofty task. Sale will certainly help the starting pitching staff, and Schwarber can ignite a dangerous offense that has been underachieving recently; Boston has posted just a league average 100 wRC+ over the last 30 days.
There’s hope for the Red Sox but also a lot of question marks. Can Sale fully recover from Tommy John? Will Schwarber continue to run as hot as he did before the injury? Will either be enough to take down Tampa Bay?
Orioles-Red Sox Pick
Given the Red Sox are nearly -300 favorites, there’s really no value on them in this game. You could take a shot on the Orioles at big plus money, but again, I’m not trusting López with my money.
The over is an interesting option, given López is so awful and the Orioles mash lefties. However, at 10 runs, the line is simply too high for me to bet.
This game is a pass for me. However, if I were forced to bet on Sale's comeback game, I do have two leans:
First, I lean Orioles over 3.5 runs. As mentioned, the Orioles mash lefties, and I'm unsure what to expect from Sale in his debut. There are a lot of question marks surrounding Sale, and there could be opportunities for the Orioles to take advantage. But the Orioles lineup has struggled recently, and Sale could pitch lights out. I would bet with caution.
Second, I would consider J.D. Martinez’s base total. He’s 4-for-9 lifetime against López with a home run, and has posted a .437 xBA and .780 xSLG in those AB’s.
Pick: Pass | Lean Orioles TT o3.5 & JD Martinez o1.5 Total Bases