Red Sox vs. Indians Odds & Pick: Bet Boston to Win Big (Saturday, Aug. 28)

Red Sox vs. Indians Odds & Pick: Bet Boston to Win Big (Saturday, Aug. 28) article feature image
Credit:

Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images. Pictured: Nathan Eovaldi.

  • Boston and Cleveland meet Saturday afternoon for the third of their three-game series.
  • The Red Sox currently hold the final wild-card position but face a Cleveland team that's been hot to end August.
  • DJ James explains below why he thinks the Indians may be due for some regression.

Red Sox vs. Indians Odds

Red Sox Odds -140
Indians Odds +120
Over/Under 9 (-105 / -115)
Time 4:05 p.m. ET
TV FS1
Odds as of Saturday afternoon and via DraftKings.

The Boston Red Sox currently cling to a 2.5-game lead over the Oakland Athletics in the American League wild-card race. They put forth Nathan Eovaldi to try to calm down one of the hotter lineups in baseball in the last 10 days.

The Cleveland Indians pitch Cal Quantrill as his opponent. The Indians have hit a weaker part of their schedule, so has this been a major factor in their recent success, or can that trend continue facing a formidable American League East foe?

Red Sox Lineup is Red Hot Against Righties

The Red Sox have fallen into third in the AL East. The red-hot rival New York Yankees seem like they will be a shoo-in for the playoffs, so Boston needs to light a fire in the last month (and change) of the season to play in that wild-card game.

Nathan Eovaldi is one of the starting arms to do it. Eovaldi has solid peripherals and features his 4-seam fastball over 40% of the time. He doesn’t walk anyone. His 4.3% walk rate is consistent with his sub-4% numbers in 2021, so Cleveland needs to swing. He is also above average in not allowing hard-hit balls, so this could play into his hands, since Cleveland is now used to battling Texas and Minnesota pitching.

The Red Sox lineup is red hot since the deadline when they face right-handed pitching. Bobby Dalbec, Kyle Schwarber and Travis Shaw all own greater than 200 wRC+ marks. In that same time, only Christian Vázquez and J.D. Martinez look to be current weak spots in the batting lineup. That said, Martinez is clearly slumping, and Vázquez has the ability to at least sometimes work the count. Otherwise, there are not too many holes against Cal Quantrill. Boston definitely gets the edge here.

Finally, the Boston bullpen is top-heavy, but adding Garrett Richards to the relief rotation, instead of the starting rotation, has helped the team. Richards looks to have turned it around for the season because he was struggling badly before his transition to the relief role. His 1.00 ERA proves this, even if he is getting a bit lucky with his xFIP at 3.72.

Either way, this shows a drastic improvement to his performances than in the starting rotation. Austin Davis and Garrett Whitlock have been critical all season, but especially since the deadline. They may have burned Whitlock, Richards and Matt Barnes in their 12-2 contest Thursday against the Twins, but these are their most vital arms in what could be a close matchup with Cleveland. At least one of them will need to be deployed.

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Quantrill Due for Regression Against Boston

The Indians give the nod to Cal Quantrill. He only allows an average exit velocity of 87.3 MPH with a 34.4% hard hit percentage. Essentially, he will not allow hard contact, which should help at least a little with the Boston lineup. That said, he does not strike anyone out. He does own a 44.7% groundball rate, but he is basically getting lucky with a 3.04 ERA and 4.36 xFIP. This is where Eovaldi gets the advantage. Quantrill’s success is a bit of an illusion, and  he should have issues with the Boston lineup.

Cleveland has been shockingly hot this month, but a usual suspect, like José Ramírez, has helped propel them to victory more than a few times this season. Myles Straw, Bradley Zimmer, and Amed Rosario have contributed, as well, but the bottom of this lineup is weak. All of their weaknesses could be exploited against a tough starter. They are no longer beating up on weak competition in the American League.

Finally, the Cleveland bullpen is solid, but it is propped up by Emmanuel Clase. Blake Parker has been a solid option, too, but it ends there, especially in the month of August. Otherwise, only Nick Wittgren and James Karinchak have above-average WPAs. Karinchak’s spin rate has plummeted, which has hurt him since the All-Star break. He only has nine strikeouts since then. He had 68 in the first half.

Red Sox-Indians Pick

The Red Sox have a massive advantage in this game. The Indians’ stats over the last few series have been inflated, and Boston’s lineup is lethal against righties. The bullpen is a wash, but as long as Boston has enough artillery behind Eovaldi’s likely strong start, it will be fine. That said, the only move here is to go with the Boston run line at -1.5 (+105). Take this to -120.

Pick: Boston Red Sox -1.5 (+105), play to -120

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