Another day, another money line underdog winner! We picked up a big underdog win last night when we backed the Boston Red Sox at a juicy +124 against the Cleveland Indians. This game was a bit shrouded in mystery as we knew that both listed starters, Chris Sale for the Red Sox and Trevor Bauer for the Indians, were going to be limited. The Red Sox also decided to rest several of their best players as they had just clinched the division title the night before. But, in the end, backing the best team in baseball as big underdogs was just too much value to pass up on, so I took Boston.
Bauer lasted just an inning and a third as expected and Sale actually went over his expected pitch count as he threw 73 pitches. The thought coming into the game was that Shane Bieber would end up eating up most of the innings for Cleveland and I figured half of Chris Sale was a lot better than all of Shane Bieber. And I was right. Bieber got absolutely hammered for six runs, all earned, in just four and two-thirds of an inning.
The game was back and forth most of the evening, and the Indians made a run late to get back into it, but in the end, came up just short and we cashed our ticket. With the win, the Red Sox tied their franchise record for wins with 105 and will look to extend their all-time win mark tonight in game two. For today’s pick, I will stay right here in Cleveland and break down game two of the series between the Indians and Red Sox.
The Cleveland Indians host the Boston Red Sox tonight in game two of a three-game set in what could very well be a playoff preview in the American League. Both teams have won their respective divisions and are gearing up for deep postseason runs. While on paper, this game might not seem to really “matter” neither of these teams wants to hit the playoffs struggling, especially against a team that they could very well match up with in October.
Starting tonight for the Red Sox is Rick Porcello (17-7 4.30 ERA), and for the Indians, it is Mike Clevinger (12-8 3.06 ERA). The Indians are -123 home favorites. The game total over-under is set at eight and a half runs. First pitch is scheduled for 4:10 PM PST from Progressive Field in Cleveland.
How good has Mike Clevinger been in the last two months for these Cleveland Indians? Unless you are a die-hard Cleveland fan, you probably don’t even know the answer to that question. Clevinger has been overshadowed by Corey Kluber and Trevor Bauer all season long but has been elite in his own right here down the stretch. His 3.06 ERA on the season is sixth in the American League this season, it just so happens it is also third on just his team.
In the last two months, he has been even better with an ERA just north of two runs as the Indians have run away with their division title. The Indians have won six out of Clevinger’s last eight starts, and he hasn’t allowed more than three runs in a start since mid-July. Clevinger has just one losing decision going back all the way to July.
Rick Porcello is another guy that doesn’t get a lot of hype as his team is loaded with Cy Young award winners as well. But Porcello has seventeen wins on the season, the second highest win total of his career, second to only 2016 when he won twenty-two and took home the Cy Young Award. This season his win total has been as much of a function of his team’s ability to score runs for him as it has been him pitching all that well.
His 4.30 ERA isn’t anything to write home about, that’s for sure. But that hasn’t stopped Boston from winning most of his starts. The Red Sox are 21-10 in games with Porcello on the mound.
It is hard to not like the Boston Red Sox as underdogs. I mean, they are the best team in baseball after all. But if last night was any inclination to tonight’s lineup, Boston is likely to rest several of their best players. And Cleveland should have most of their guys on the field. Throw in the fact that Cleveland is getting the much better side of the starting pitching matchup and I don’t mind backing Cleveland, laying a little wood.
So, that is just what I will do. I don’t see this depleted Boston lineup being able to hit Clevinger too hard, and you can always count on Porcello giving up a couple of runs. So, I will back the Indians as home favorites. This team is turning things on at the right time, and it will be great see Josh Donaldson playing third base tonight for the Indians. Give me the Cleveland Indians as small home favorites tonight in game two at -123!