Nationals vs Red Sox Odds Today | MLB Pick, Predictions for Thursday August 17

Nationals vs Red Sox Odds Today | MLB Pick, Predictions for Thursday August 17 article feature image

Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images. Pictured: Patrick Corbin #46 of the Washington Nationals

Red Sox vs. Nationals Odds

Thursday, August 17
4:05 p.m. ET
Red Sox Odds
MoneylineTotalRun Line
-110 / -110
Nationals Odds
MoneylineTotalRun Line
-110 / -110
Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

Chris Sale looked great in his return to the mound. But can we count on continued success from him?

The Red Sox need it if they want to sneak into the postseason. The AL Wildcard race is brutal.

Meanwhile, Patrick Corbin might be the most consistently poor pitcher on the planet. We can likely count on his continued failure.

However, the sneaky part of this handicap is Washington's offense, which is in its favorable split today.

Check out our MLB Betting Hub for more previews from today's slate.

Boston Red Sox

The Red Sox may have blown their best chance of getting back in the Wildcard hunt.

Boston entered July 30 with a 30% chance to make the postseason. They were only two games out of a Wildcard spot (Houston and Toronto), a game ahead of the Yankees and two ahead of Seattle.

The Red Sox had three with Seattle and three with Toronto before getting 10 games against the Tigers, Royals and Nationals. They had a shot to put the Mariners in the rear-view mirror, catch up with Toronto and rack up some valuable wins against three of MLB's worst clubs.

The Sox lost two of three in Seattle and got swept at home by Toronto. They went 5-2 against Detroit and Kansas City, but that was merely meeting expectations instead of putting a dent in their Wildcard deficit.

Last night's loss to Washington burns, too.

That might've been it. Because after Thursday, the Sox will go:

  • Three @ Yankees
  • Four @ Astros
  • Three vs. Dodgers
  • Three vs. Astros
  • Two vs. Royals
  • Three @ Rays
  • Four vs. Yankees
  • Three @ Blue Jays
  • Three @ Rangers
  • Three vs. White Sox
  • Two vs. Rays
  • Four @ Orioles

That's the toughest remaining strength of schedule in the American League and the second toughest overall. They might be cooked.

At this point, you know what the Red Sox are. They hit the ball hard, their rotation is mercurial, and their defense is trash.

The defense is horrifically bad. The Red Sox are on pace to be the worst defense of the Statcast era by Outs Above Average. The Sox have -52 OAA, while the second-worst Reds check in with -19. The 2017 Mets are the worst defense of the Statcast era, as they finished 70-92 with -58 OAA.

Surprisingly, Boston's bullpen has been the team's brightest bunch. The Red Sox are an MLB-best 50-6 when leading after six innings this year.

Starting pitcher: Chris Sale (LHP)

Sale looked spectacular in his return. He no-hit the Tigers through four frames, racking up seven strikeouts.

Sale did surrender a two-run homer in the fifth, and the Sox decided to pull him on 58 pitches. That's fine. Alex Cora needs to treat him like he's made of glass.

Sale sat 94.5 mph on his four-seam, which is good, but we hope to see that bump up as he gets stretched out. More importantly, 25 of his 58 pitches ended up as a Whiff or a called strike, good for a whopping 43.1% CSW rate.

Chris Sale looks great in yellow.

— Obstructed View: Red Sox Podcast 🎙 (@ObstructView) August 12, 2023

I think Sale will pitch well over the season's final two months. However, I'm not sure how much we'll see of him on Thursday, as I expect the Red Sox won't push him to overextend or pitch deep into a game any time soon.

Washington Nationals

I think the Nationals are a sneaky "good bad" team. I often see myself betting on them because they are often undervalued.

The top of the lineup is rock solid between Stone Garrett, Joey Meneses and Lane Thomas. They have a few good rotation pieces in Josiah Gray and MacKenzie Gore. The bullpen has been on fire behind Kyle Finnegan, posting the league's third-best reliever ERA over the past two weeks (1.91).

And the Nationals have played better as the season has progressed. They're 18-13 in the second half.

But, as is the case with every team, regression is coming. The Nationals reliever xFIP is two runs higher than their ERA across the two weeks, and they pair that 18-13 record with a negative run differential. They're 6-1 in one-run games since the All-Star Break.

But, as alluded to in the intro, the key for Washington here is its southpaw-hitting lineup.

The Nationals are surprisingly adept at hitting left-handed pitching. They boast a 108 wRC+ against the side on the season and a 106 mark over the past month.

The Nats can stack seven right-handed bats in their lineup on any given night, and many of those bats have typical platoon splits:

  • Lane Thomas: .995 OPS vs. LHP / .726 OPS vs. RHP
  • Stone Garrett: .836 / .704
  • Keibert Ruiz: .795 / .691
  • Joey Menses: .758 / .731
  • Alex Call: .764 / .519

Starting pitcher: Patrick Corbin (LHP)

There's not much to say about Corbin. He's been the worst starting pitcher in MLB over the past few seasons.

Corbin is coming off the funniest start of the season. He pitched five innings of one-hit, shutout ball against the Phillies, but walked seven batters. His xFIP in the game was 8.31.

While only one batted ball went for a hit, seven of the 14 were Hard-Hit (Exit Velocity over 95 mph). His xBA in the start was around .300. If baseball wasn't so weird, the Phillies should've scored 10 runs that night.

Look at this pitch hammered by Harper 375 feet with one guy on.

Corbin lockbox tomorrow? Sox should be ready

— Tanner McGrath (@tannerstruth) August 17, 2023

Too bad it went to the deepest part of the ballpark and ended up in a routine flyout.

If you were to negate all the weird things concerning Corbin, he's been a half-decent arm recently. He's posted a 4.15 ERA over his past eight starts, eating up a respectable 47 2/3 innings during the stretch (almost six frames per game). His Hard-Hit rate is only 32.5% over that time, although his strikeout minus walk rate is under 10%.

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Red Sox vs. Nationals

Betting Pick & Prediction

While the Nationals hit much better against left-handed pitching, the Red Sox hit much worse against southpaws.

The Sox boast a 75 wRC+ against the side over the past month, a bottom-seven mark in baseball. There are a lot of lefties in the Sox lineup, and you never know when Cora will sit Jarren Duran against same-handed pitching (it happens too often).

Sale represents a clear starting pitching advantage for the Red Sox, especially against Corbin. But I doubt he pitches deep into this game. While the Red Sox are rock-solid in the back end of the bullpen, there are very few rock-solid middle relief arms — ask Garrett Whitlock, who allowed four runs in relief last night.

The Nationals will get a southpaw in the early frames and a bevy of replacement-level arms in the middle frames. That's a pretty solid matchup for them.

We don't know what we're getting from Corbin, but we can be sure he'll eat up innings. The Red Sox will be in their worse offensive split for most of the game, and they'll have to battle a red-hot bullpen afterward.

It's also worth mentioning how feeble the Sox are on the road. Their wRC+ drops 22 points away from Fenway (from 113 to 91), boasting a below-.500 road record (28-29 on the road, 35-28 at home).

Ultimately, I think it's worth taking a shot with Corbin and the Nationals as gross-and-heavy home 'dogs on Thursday. They have some unique advantages that the betting line isn't accounting for.

And if all else fails, we can always fall back on Boston's historically bad defense.

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