The Boston Red Sox travel to Cincinnati for game one of a three-game series with the Reds. This is a matchup featuring two teams headed in opposite directions. The Red Sox have won six out of their last seven and eleven out of their last fourteen and clinched a playoff berth with their victory Wednesday night in Baltimore. While the Reds have lost three in a row and eight out of their last thirteen contests and are in last place in the National League Central division. Tonight’s starting pitching matchup is reigning Cy Young award winner Rick Porcello (10-17 4.46 ERA) for the Red Sox and rookie Sal Romano (5-6 4.07 ERA) for the Reds. First pitch is scheduled for 4:10 PM PST from Great American Ballpark in Cincinnati, Ohio.
Boston Red Sox -142 at Cincinnati Reds +122
Rick Porcello (10-17 4.46 ERA) vs Sal Romano (5-6 4.07 ERA)
The Boston Red Sox have been red-hot in September and are fighting to hold off the equally hot New York Yankees for the American League East Division title. Entering play today the Red Sox hold a scant three-game lead over their rivals from the Bronx. While the Red Sox have a seemingly soft matchup this weekend against the cellar-dwelling Reds, the Yankees will have to face off against a division rival, and also last place, Toronto Blue Jays team that isn’t going to lay down for the Bronx Bombers at home.
I am not implying that the Reds are going to just lay down in this series, but they are exploring lots of options for next year and have little interest in competing in games at this point in the season. Tonight’s starter Sal Romano is a perfect example of this as the rookie right-hander, and New York native is looking to make his mark and solidify himself a spot in the rotation next year. After a rough start to his Major league career that saw him sporting an ERA over five, Romano has calmed down over his last three starts and has actually shown some promise. In his last start against the Pittsburg Pirates, Romano went eight shutout innings in the win for his best start in the Majors. The self-proclaimed New York Yankees fan, Romano is going to enjoy pitching against their rivals, the Boston Red Sox in this one. Or will he?
The Boston Red Sox have been one of the best offensive teams in the league all year long, and I expect them to feast on this rookie arm tonight in Cincy. The Sox have scored nine runs or more six times in their last twelve games. The bats are hot right now in Beantown, and I’m not sure a rookie starter is going to have much chance holding them back tonight. And even if Romano is able to hold them back somewhat the Reds will still have to score on Red Sox starter Rick Porcello, and that has become an increasingly hard thing to do this season.
Rick Porcello had a magical season last year. He went 22-4 with an ERA of 3.15 and took home the American League Cy Young award. This season did not get off to the kind of start many in Boston expected as Porcello was downright awful in the first half of the year this year. Porcello hit the All-Star break with a dismal 4-14 record for one of the best teams in the majors. It is hard to lose that much for a team that wins so often! Porcello has been much better in baseballs second half. Since August 1st, Porcello has a 6-3 record with an ERA in the low fours. It isn’t a repeat of his Cy Young campaign from last year, but he is doing enough to give his team a chance to win ball games.
The Cincinnati Reds are just a garbage baseball team at this point. We see it a lot down the stretch in baseball where teams basically give up on the season and start to look at rebuilding for the following year. It’s just the way baseball is, it’s a long season, and when you are out of contention for as long as the Reds have been this year, you start worrying about a lot of things, unfortunately winning games this season isn’t always one of them. You saw it in the Reds last series against the competing St. Louis Cardinals, the Reds got swept aside by the Cardinals and weren’t really competitive much at all in the series. Yeah, they looked good the week before against an also non-contending Pittsburg Pirates team, but against a team really trying to win games? The Reds don’t have much of a shot.
I expect Porcello to be better than his usual self against what has turned into a weak offense. Don’t let the Reds season-long offensive stats fool you, they were a solid offensive team most of the year, but they aren’t anymore as they trot out a series of youngsters looking to make their mark in the big leagues. A rookie starter against one of the most ferocious and motivated offenses in all of baseball? That is a recipe for disaster, and I don’t expect this one to be remotely close tonight.
I spent most of the season swearing off taking run line bets, but over the past two weeks, we have been killing them. That is because we are taking advantage of some of these very weak teams that are essentially starting Triple-A lineups down the stretch against good teams desperately trying to win. It has created a lot of blowouts, and our run line bets have been cashing consistently. I am looking for another blowout in this one. Too many factors say that Boston is going to roll into Cincy and take care of business n a big way to not snatch up the extra value. The books have tightened up the run line price down the stretch as well. Earlier in the season, you would get a full dollar’s worth of premium for taking the run line, now we are getting 60 cents or less as the books are reacting to the same thing I just explained. In this matchup, we are only getting about a 50-cent premium for the run line, but I still think we would be foolish to pass up on the extra value. Give me the Red Sox in a big way tonight on the run line in Cincy.
Today’s Pick: Red Sox -1.5 runs at +115