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MLB Odds, Preview, Prediction for Red Sox vs. Athletics: Garrett Richards Could Be in for Long Night in Oakland (Saturday, July 3)

MLB Odds, Preview, Prediction for Red Sox vs. Athletics: Garrett Richards Could Be in for Long Night in Oakland (Saturday, July 3) article feature image

Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images. Pictured: Matt Olson (left) and Matt Chapman (right).

  • The Boston Red Sox will take on the Oakland Athletics in a matchup between two solid offenses.
  • The Red Sox are set to start Garrett Richards, who has especially struggled in the post-sticky stuff era, giving the Oakland offense a solid shot at bouncing back.
  • Check out Kenny Ducey's full betting guide below, including odds and a pick based on his analysis.

Red Sox vs. Athletics Odds

Red Sox Odds +114
Athletics Odds -132
Over/Under 9.5 (-106 / -115)
Time 7:15 p.m. ET
Odds as of Saturday morning and via DraftKings.

In what was a thrilling, low-scoring affair on Friday night, the Red Sox blew a lead to the A’s late, only to come back in the 10th inning to stay on a roll and win their eighth game in a row.

The Sox will look to make it nine on Saturday, but their own man on the mound, Garrett Richards, could be the biggest obstacle in the way of an extension of their winning streak.

Can he be trusted to reach deep into his bag of tricks to pull out a solid start? Let’s have a look at the numbers below.

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Keep Fading Garrett Richards?

Richards has been one of the stranger cases this season.

He’s seemed very hittable, with a 5.96 xERA and 53.2% hard-hit rate, and has been prone to some bad outings. Even with that, he’s posted a 4.96 real-life ERA and found some luck to get him across the finish line in enough games.

The thing about Richards is, despite the fact that he’s ranked inside the top 6% of all pitchers in spin rate, pretty much every number in the book pegs him as an awful pitcher.

He’s hardly generating any swings and misses or strikeouts while allowing some awful contact. That’s why the fact that his spin rates have dropped around 400 RPM on average in the post-sticky stuff era is incredibly alarming.

In those starts, Richards allowed 30 hits and walked five in 11.1 innings. I’m not even going to bother talking about the 13 earned runs because anyone would know you’re not going to make it very far allowing that kind of traffic on the basepaths.

The thought of Richards now going to Oakland without his spin rates to save him against a good offense is scary.

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Trust Oakland’s Body of Work

While the A’s have hit .184 over the past week and looked kind of dreadful out there, their body of work over the season tells a much different story.

They’ve been above average across the board against lefties (102 wRC+), righties (104 wRC+) and at home (102 wRC+). It’s definitely news that the A’s — a team that was one of the best offenses against lefties — have slipped outside the top 10 against southpaws, so they will definitely be happy to see a righty, and a bad one at that.

Speaking of lefties, Cole Irvin has been pretty steady.

He’s sporting a 4.47 xERA and 7.6% barrel rate, which are decent for a back-end starter, and his 3.64 real-life ERA is definitely good. His ability to limit walks will help him immensely against a Boston side that can really be picky and draw free passes.

Another benefit of this matchup for Irvin is the fact that the Red Sox rank just 14th this season against fastballs with just .18 weighted runs per 100 pitches. That’s the pitch that Irvin statistically leans on the most, and I’d think he throws it even more here.

Red Sox-Athletics Pick

I didn’t think Richards could get much worse. Then we learned he’d been using a foreign substance to inflate his spin rate. It’s shocking, to say the least, that Richards still couldn’t get results even with some of the highest spin rates in the league, and it speaks to just how far he’s fallen.

He’s been awful over the last three starts without his spin, and I still think there’s a lower floor than what we’ve seen given all of the hits.

Oakland has struggled at the plate lately, but this should be just what this team needs to get out of its funk. This is a fantastic buy-low spot.

Pick: A’s ML -136

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