East meets West in a matchup of division leaders on Thursday’s betting odds board, and the Oakland A’s have a chance to pull off their first sweep of the Red Sox in Boston in almost 31 years.
Oakland Athletics vs. Boston Red Sox
Thursday, May 13, 2021 – 7:10 p.m. EDT at Fenway Park
Solid pitching and just enough offense has been Oakland’s winning recipe in the first two games of the set. Chris Bassitt stymied the Red Sox on Tuesday with 10 strikeouts in a 3-2 triumph for the Athletics, and they came right back to beat Boston 4-1 win Wednesday night behind rookie James Kaprielian, who was making his season debut and first major league start.
Both games stayed comfortably ‘under’ the totals and found Oakland in the underdog role, which the Athletics are once again in Thursday’s series finale when they send Sean Manaea (2-1. 3.07) to the mound opposite Boston’s Garrett Richards (2-2, 4.54). BetOnline is selling the Red Sox as slight -110 chalk with a 9-run total that is evenly priced.
A’s Have Been True Road ‘Dogs in ‘21
Fenway Park has been something of a Little Shop of Horrors over the years for the Athletics. Oakland’s last sweep in Boston came in September 1990, the last of those great A’s teams under Tony LaRussa, and in the 30+ years since then, the Reds Sox have broomed the Athletics out of Beantown 11 times. The road has played favorably for Oakland with Bob Melvin’s side 10-4 overall, and 6-3 when lined as the underdog.
Oakland has won Manaea’s last six starts while the southpaw racked up four quality efforts in that stretch. Since getting pounded by the Houston Astros at home in his season debut, the Indiana native has pitched to a 2.22 ERA with 39 strikeouts against just five walks. Manaea recorded 10 of those Ks in 7.1 innings last Friday against the Tampa Bay Rays, a no-decision for him but a win for A’s backers as -125 chalk at the best online betting sites.
Manaea hasn’t faced the Red Sox since 2018 when he beat them twice, one of the victories a no-hitter at The Coliseum. His assignment at Fenway Park that season also went into the win column with a 6-IP, 3-ER performance. He was bombed in his two previous starts in Boston (6.1 IP, 15 ER).
BoSox 1-5 O/U Last 6
Boston’s current 3-game slide leaves the Red Sox with a tiny 1-game lead in the AL East over the streaking New York Yankees. The Red Sox have scored just four runs in the mini-skid, but still lead the American League in slugging (.431) and rank third in scoring (5.03 rpg).
Like his mound adversary tonight, Richards was knocked around in his season debut but has since righted the ship in his half-dozen subsequent outings. He was no mystery to Baltimore batters in his first assignment of 2021, but Richards has since posted a 3.20 ERA, two more of which also came against the Orioles. The last three have been on the road, and Richards will be looking to have his first quality start at this season at Fenway where he owns a 13.50 ERA in two short appearances.
Richards has plenty of experience against the A’s after pitching for the Los Angeles Angels his first nine seasons. He’ll be looking for his first win against Oakland since the 2015 campaign, and owns a 4.27 career ERA versus the Angels over 73.2 IP. Richards’ last victory at Fenway Park also came in 2015.
Umpire Notes, Beantown Forecast & A Free Pick
Calling balls and strikes in the series finale will be D.J. Reyburn, who is in his 14th season working games at the big league level. It’s the 299th plate assignment of the Grand Rapids native’s career, including one in last year’s playoffs, and his 2021 contests have run 3-4 O/U. Reburn has had the dish seven previous times at Fenway, resulting in a 4-3 O/U record.
A sunny, cool afternoon in Boston gives way to a few clouds after sunset, though there isn’t any rain in the forecast. Expect the thermometer to be in the mid-60s when Richards delivers the game’s first pitch, with a light 7-9 mph SW breeze (out to center). It’s never easy to pull the trigger with an MLB pick for a sweep, and that’s certainly true this time given Oakland’s history in Boston. In this case, however, it’s warranted with the Red Sox suffering a bit of a Fenway curse of their own this season and their bats on the quiet side.
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.