Bet Red Sox Despite Unknown Pitcher in Series Opener at Athletics on May 18

hector velazquez

Willie Bee

Thursday, May 18, 2017 1:20 PM UTC

Thursday, May. 18, 2017 1:20 PM UTC

The Red Sox left St. Louis late after extra innings against the Cardinals on Wednesday, and they’re slight underdogs on the MLB odds for Thursday’s series opener at the sinking Oakland A’s.

MLB Season Record: 16-26 (-11.75)

Injuries have forced John Farrell to piece together a rotation for the Boston, and the piece he’s plugged in Thursday will be making his MLB debut in the series opener at the Oakland Athletics. Hector Velazquez is being called up for Boston, Sonny Gray his opponent on the Oakland side, and the game is close to a pick ‘em with BookMaker offering 9 for the total.

The Red Sox reach Oakland after sweeping a 2-game set in St. Louis, Wednesday’s contest closing with Boston slight favorites on the MLB odds and lasting 13 innings. The A’s are returning home after spending the last few days in Seattle where they dropped 2 of 3 to end a 1-5 road trip that began in Texas.


Gray Looking For 1st Win Vs. Red Sox

Toiling in the Mexican Leagues since he was 21, Velazquez rounded into good form a year ago when he split time with Moncolva and Navojoa. That caught the eye of Red Sox scouts, who inked him this past winter and pushed him into some spring training action. Boston sent him to Triple-A Pawtucket to begin the season, and he responded with five good starts and a sub-2.00 ERA over 29 innings. He’s basically taking the slot previously held by Steven Wright and Kyle Kendrick and could stick for a while until David Price is ready to come off the DL.

After beginning the season on the DL, Gray is poised to make his fourth start of May still seeking his first win. The former Vanderbilt standout found too much of the plate in his debut at Minnesota, and Twins batters made him pay with three bleacher bombs, but he kept the ball in the park the last two times out. Defense let him down in his only home start, and the bullpen spoiled a dubya last weekend in Texas. In addition to looking for his first win of 2017, Gray is going for his first career victory vs. Boston, having gone 0-2 in three previous assignments with a 5.40 ERA.


Rivalry Notes, Mother Nature & A Free Pick

In a series that has traversed the Lower 48 from one coast to the other with a stop in America’s heartland along the way, it’s the Red Sox who have held the upper hand the past couple of seasons. Boston has won 11 of the last 13 meetings, sweeping the last two series at Fenway and taking 2 of 3 the last two at the Coliseum. In addition to the Sox winning five of the last seven here, ‘over’ bettors have cashed five times in that stretch.

It should be a pleasant evening at the old Coliseum, temps hovering in the mid-60s at the start of the game, clear skies and an 8-12 mph westerly breeze (out to right). Farrell burned through eight relievers Wednesday in St. Louis, which might force him to stick with Velazquez longer than he wants and makes the ‘over’ quite attractive. Instead, my free baseball pick will be on Boston to extend its win streak to three.

Free MLB Pick: Red Sox +100Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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