Red Sox Favorites but O's Have Other Ideas in Patriots' Day Tilt

orioles

Jay Pryce

Sunday, April 15, 2018 7:23 PM UTC

Sunday, Apr. 15, 2018 7:23 PM UTC

Boston's annual Patriots' Day clash, the earliest scheduled MLB game each season (11:05 a.m. ET), is tentative to start on time Monday, although heavy rain and wind is expected. Pick, preview, and praying for good weather here.

MLB Monday: Orioles vs. Red SoxFree MLB Pick: Orioles +155Best Line Offered: JustBet

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Orioles (5-11)

Baltimore’s bats are ice cold, and so is the club. It has scored 3 runs or fewer in 10 of 16 games, including Sunday's 3-1 loss to Chris Sale. The Orioles have claimed victory in just one of these contests. Swings and misses are particularly a problem. The roster is whiffing 10.9 times per contest, most in the bigs. That’s 27.4 percent of at-bats. Ouch.

Manager Buck Showalter sends Andrew Cashner (1-1, 2.50 ERA) to the hill. The 6-foot-6 journeyman is making his second career start at the hitter-friendly confines of Fenway Park, rocked for 5 earned runs on 6 hits in 5.0 innings in his debut last May while with the Rangers.

The hard-throwing right-hander, however, has led his team to victory in six straight as a road underdog since the All-Star break last July. Cashner picked up the win in five of those games, he and the staff holding opponents to 3.2 runs per game. This includes a 5-2 win over Masahiro Tanaka and the Yankees as +200 pups in his lone away outing this season at Yankee Stadium on April 5. Overall, backers have nabbed a 153-percent return at +153.5 average odds in this span.

Red Sox (13-2 SU)

Boston is on fire. It leads the bigs with a 13-2 record and is second with a plus-40 run differential. The club is dominating in all facets of the game, but mostly shining at the plate. It tops the majors with 10.2 percent of balls in play going for extra bases, while dually owning the lowest strikeout rate (16.2 percent). This combination makes for deadly efficiency as is evident by its 6.1 runs per game.

On Monday, southpaw Brian Johnson (1-0, 2.70 ERA) hopes to be the beneficiary of the team’s hot bats in just his eighth career start. The 27-year-old reliever is filling in as a starter because David Price’s next start was pushed back a day due to a hand injury. If the lineup happens to cool, perhaps skipper Alex Cora should consider batting Johnson in this game. Check out this cut:

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The soft-tossing lefty, who has battled a host of injuries since his big-league debut in 2015, owns a 2.70 ERA over 10 frames this year. He picked up a win in his lone start this year, on April 2 at Miami, gifting a single run on six hits in 6.0 innings in a 7-3 victory. Orioles hitters will see a heavy dose of curves, sliders, and change-ups. Take note: Johnson averages 5.1 innings per start throughout his career, so this meeting might head to the bullpen early.

The Pick

After losing his big-league debut against the Astros in July 2015, the Red Sox have won six straight behind Johnson dating to last April. The staff allows 4.0 runs on 9.7 hits per game. What’s key for the Baltimore matchup is the fact opponents strike out just 7.7 times on average. This low rate will allow Orioles hitters plenty of opportunities to put the ball in play — a dangerous invitation against a club waiting to break loose at the plate. In the last calendar year, the Birds are 5-1 SU at Fenway when whiffing 10 times or less, taking the first pitch at +131.3 average odds. They score 6.8 runs per contest. This should be enough support for Cashner and the O's to spoil Patriots' Day festivities. Baltimore +155 is good value on the MLB odds board -- and a good bet with your MLB picks.

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