MLB Odds, Preview, Prediction for Red Sox vs Astros: Boston’s Offense May Get Going Against Valdez (Wednesday, June 2)
Juan DeLeon/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images. Pictured: Astros shortstop Carlos Correa hugs Red Sox third baseman Marwin Gonzalez.
- Boston and Houston continue their four-game set at Minute Maid Park after the Astros took the first two games of the series.
- Things could change today, however, as Houston sends lefty Framber Valdez to the mound, as the Red Sox have dominated southpaws.
- Kenny Ducey breaks down below why he thinks Boston gets back to its winning ways tonight.
Red Sox vs. Astros Odds
|Red Sox Odds||+125|
|Over/Under||9 (+100 / -120)|
|Time||8:10 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Wednesday afternoon and via DraftKings.|
The Red Sox came into this four-game set with the Astros hot, and Houston came in off a disappointing run. Through two games, you’d hardly know that.
Both teams have gone in opposite direction, and it will be up to Nick Pivetta to change that for Boston. Can he return to the great form we saw in the beginning of the season, and give the Sox just enough to capitalize on a great matchup against a lefty? Let’s look at the numbers and see if there’s some value in backing Boston here.
Red Sox Have Promising Outlook Against Lefty
Well, if the Red Sox want to get anything out of this huge series against the Astros, it’s now or never. An offense that looked so great against the Blue Jays, Phillies, Braves and Marlins has slowed to a screeching halt, scoring just three runs over the last two games. Things could get a little easier here against a left-hander whose profile indicates he’s hittable.
I mention his handedness because Boston has been great against southpaws this year. It’s posted a 108 wRC+ and hit .273 within that split, striking out only 19.3% of the time. That should be of huge importance against a lefty in Framber Valdez who is allowing a .370 xwOBA on contact.
Pivetta will get the nod for Boston in the midst of a really weird season. For starters, his 3.86 ERA perfectly matches his 3.86 xERA (I’ve never seen that before!) and he’s teetered the line between good and bad all year long. He posted a 2.81 ERA in April, flashing some high strikeout upside, before bringing those strikeouts up even further in May but pitching to a 4.82 ERA.
He’s a flawed pitcher, walking too many guys and allowing some damage on contact, but he might be the most average one we have in the game right now. It’s always difficult to tell whether the Red Sox will win or lose when he throws.
Houston’s Turnaround Has Been Stark
The Astros really needed this. Right when the going got good for them, it went right back to pain with six losses in seven games. The offense would jump on the opposition early just to see either a back-end started or anyone from this bullpen blow the lead. In an instant, though, things changed. Houston’s now won three straight, allowing just seven runs in the process.
Let’s dig into the pitching for a second, however, since we know this offense can hit (it ranks third in wRC+ over the past two weeks). The bullpen rates as an average one for the season, but over the past two weeks it’s posted a putrid 5.82 ERA with a league-worst 6.11 FIP over that span. Dusty Baker has had nowhere to turn with even his best reliever — Ryne Stanek — struggling to command his arsenal.
So far, so good in this series, though. The Houston bullpen has allowed just one run, which has worked in chorus with some great starting pitching performances. The aforementioned Valdez will look to continue in line with his rotation mates, though the peripherals are damning.
Valdez has always been a Pivetta type, living on the edge of disaster and decent, and his first start this year could have gone worse. He allowed a barrel in his four innings against the Padres, and four hard-hit balls in total. He also walked two and allowed two hits. Regression could set in against a similarly dangerous Red Sox team.
Red Sox-Astros Pick
There’s a reason this total is so high, with the way the Astros have been hitting the ball and the historical struggles of Valdez. I think this is a shot worth taking on the Red Sox, who do their best work against lefties and should have the better pitcher going here. I’d love this total if it were just a little bit lower; I’m scared of Pivetta spinning a gem and killing the over.
The Red Sox should come out swinging, and if all else fails for them I do think this Houston bullpen will crack just as it has for weeks now. Two games is an encouraging step in the right direction for that group, but I’m going to look at the larger sample instead of cherry pick two games. Boston should have an edge here.
Pick: Red Sox ML (+125)