Today is Game 3 of this AL East wraparound series with Patriot’s Day tomorrow in Boston. The Red Sox are favored on the MLB odds to take the lead, but Baltimore has factors in their favor also.
The Orioles evened the series yesterday with a 4-1 win and could forge a first place tie with Boston with a victory Sunday afternoon. Here is our MLB pick & preview on how this contest breaks down against the MLB odds.
Baltimore After Another Quality All-Around Outing
Baltimore overcame the bad news of losing second basemen Jonathan Schoop to a partial PCL tear and a mild MCL sprain in his right knee on Friday. As we explained in Saturday's MLB betting preview article , Chris Tillman and the Birds as underdogs is a tough combo to beat and thanks to the bullpen which tossed 3 2/3 scoreless innings, the Orioles ended up winning.
For today’s contest, O’s starting pitcher Miguel Gonzalez has enjoyed success against Boston (more on that below). Besides needing another well pitched game, manager Buck Showalter hopes Adam Jones torrid hot streak keeps going, which has him batting .415 with an OBP of .457 and four home runs.
Showalter also has be pleased Chris Davis is at least partially returning to form which made him a home run champion. Davis is hitting .256 after posting .196 batting average last season and Saturday had a ninth inning two-run homer that salted away the contest. If you are making MLB picks, the best part of Davis’s shot was the lefty hitter went with the pitch and stroked it over the Green Monster instead of being pull-happy like last year.
Red Sox Offense Has to Come Through
Boston is third in baseball in runs scored at 5.5 per game, but in this series the Red Sox have been handcuffed by Baltimore pitching and has scored only four runs in two outings.
Thus far shortstop Xander Bogaerts (.366 BA, .435 OBP) and Pablo Sandoval (.286 BA, .375) have largely carried the offense. While David Ortiz and Hanley Ramirez are not up to career norms, anyone placing sports picks assumes they eventually will.
Of greater concern is Dustin Pedroia. His batting average is off quite a bit (.255 vs. .299 for career), yet his OBP is just down .20, suggesting this will eventually be rectified. What Red Sox fans are wondering is what has happened to Pedrioa in the clutch. Last season the second-sacker batted .111 (6 for 54) with runners in scoring position and two outs. This year, he’s 0-9, including three missed chances yesterday. The Red Sox need more out Pedroia when it counts.
Pitching Matchup – Gonzalez vs Porcello
Miguel Gonzalez got his first win of the season in his last start to even his record at 1-1 and set a new career high with 10 strikeouts and held New York Yankees to just one run over seven innings. The righty has a 1.42 ERA in his first two starts this season and dating back to last year including the postseason, Gonzalez has surrendered two or fewer earned runs in seven of his last nine starts. (Just three each in the other two) The Birds starter pitches typically sink or run in on right-hand batters and he is 4-1 with a 2.56 ERA against the Red Sox.
Rick Porcello is a ground ball pitcher using a low-90’s fastball that sinks and his is effective on either side of the plate with it. He typically keeps opposing hitter’s off-balance with a tightly spun curveball and uses a three-finger changeup that dips late. Porcello is 3-5 versus the Orioles with a 4.28 ERA and MLB baseball handicappers have noticed three dingers in his first 14 innings of work.
Adam Jones in his past 17 games against Boston has a .386 average, four homers, five doubles and 13 RBI’s, but is 2 for 24 against Porcello.
Red Sox infielder Brock Holt is 11 for 18 in his last five games and batting .349 in his past 11 against Baltimore.
Odds and Outcome
Sportsbooks have Boston as a -140 money line favorite and the total has sunk to 8.5. No doubt this is a better Red Sox team than a year, but they have not solved Gonzalez often and they are 1-11 at home revenging a loss where they scored one run or less the last two seasons. With Baltimore 18-8 versus AL opponents scoring 5.2 or more runs a contest the last three years, the Orioles are a live dog today.
MLB Free Pick – Baltimore +134 at YouWager