Red Sox vs. Nationals Odds, Preview, Prediction: Offense Will Be Key as Washington Looks to Play Spoiler (Friday, October 1)

Red Sox vs. Nationals Odds, Preview, Prediction: Offense Will Be Key as Washington Looks to Play Spoiler (Friday, October 1) article feature image

G Fiume/Getty Images. Pictured: Washington Nationals standout Juan Soto.

  • The Yankees can clinch a playoff berth if things fall their way on Friday night, but first they'll need to take care of business as slight favorites against Shane McClanahan and the Tampa Bay Rays.
  • Mike Ianniello sizes up the odds and previews the AL East showdown below:

Red Sox vs. Nationals Odds

Red Sox Odds-200
Nationals Odds+170
Over/Under9.5 (+100 / -118)
Time7:05 p.m. ET
Odds via BetRivers. Get up-to-the-minute MLB odds here.

The Boston Red Sox are in contention for the American League Wild Card and need to hold themselves in a strong position against the Washington Nationals this season.

Given how close the Seattle Mariners, New York Yankees, and Toronto Blue Jays are, a sweep of the Nationals would likely propel the Red Sox into the wild card.

The Nationals could easily play spoiler, though.

Two lefties go in this Friday night matchup: Eduardo Rodríguez for the BoSox and Josh Rogers for the Nats.

Boston has an advantage facing lefty pitching as of late, but is there enough value in the moneyline to take them with the juice?

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Boston Red Sox

Rodríguez has had an extremely unlucky 2021 campaign. He has a 3.64 xERA versus his 4.92 ERA, so essentially his results do not align with how well he has pitched.

In fact, he ranks in the 88th percentile in Average Exit Velocity and the 83rd percentile in Hard-Hit Percentage.

That being said, the Nationals love fastballs from a lefty, like Rodríguez. He throws his four-seamer about 40% of the time at 92-94 MPH. On pitches like this from lefties this month, the Nats hold a .353 xwOBA.

Rodríguez may struggle if he features this pitch as often as he has in the past.

The Boston lineup has a 108 wRC+ against southpaws this month. Five players have a .350+ OBP and five have a wRC+ over 100.

The lineup seems to be a bit top-heavy, but if Boston chooses to stack Martinez, Iglesias, Dalbec, Schwarber, and Verdugo, they should be successful.

In addition, Josh Rogers employs his fastball and slider around 85% of the time. Basically, these are his only two pitches, other than a changeup which will come to the plate rarely.

This month, the Red Sox have a .357 xwOBA against sliders from lefties. On fastballs around 91 MPH from lefties, they have a .467 xwOBA with a 97.2 Average Exit Velocity. They should be able to hammer Rogers early.

Now, Boston has also been very solid in relief this month. They rank sixth in fWAR and have maintained a 3.76 xFIP collectively.

Josh Taylor, Garrett Whitlock, and Phillips Valdez being on the Injured List does shorten the relief corps a bit, but Hansel Robles and Garrett Richards have been phenomenal in relief.

Richards could play a key role in this one, especially if Rodríguez has some trouble with the Washington lineup.

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Washington Nationals

As far as Josh Rogers goes, his 2.73 ERA in limited appearances is a farce. His xERA is actually 5.65.

As stated above, he typically will only use his fastball and slider, and the Boston lineup will have a heyday with these pitches. His far below average 15.3% strikeout rate against a Boston team who has only struck out 22.7% of the time this season does not bode well for him either.

The Nats offense can hit Rodríguez’s fastball. That has already been concluded, but they also have a .352 OBP against left-handers this month.

This is not just inflated by Juan Soto, although he definitely helps.

Lane Thomas, Josh Bell, Keibert Ruiz and Alcides Escobar all have .340+ OBPs. They have a similar number of batters who can produce runs as the Red Sox, but Rodríguez probably gets the veteran edge over Rogers.

The Nationals bullpen has been unlucky lately, but this month they still have a 4.78 xFIP. They are not strong, and they have about five arms that can throw consistently.

Luckily for them, they have a day off on Thursday to rest because they are already short-handed.

Red Sox-Nationals Pick

Both of these teams can hit lefties, who have similar arsenals to both starting pitchers.

Runs could come early, but given how poor the Nationals bullpen is and how many relievers will probably be used in general, the total is the play here. Play this to 9.5 (+100).

There should be plenty of runs scored.

Pick: Over 9.5 (+100)

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