**THERE’S BEEN A PITCHING CHANGE IN THIS GAME. Tillman isn’t starting anymore, so this won’t be an official pick.
In what is the most important series going on at the moment, the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles do it all over again tonight. The American League East is a tight race, with the Red Sox, Orioles, and Blue Jays all in the race. The Red Sox were a game back behind the Orioles and Jays before their win last night. The Orioles will look to get it back tonight against David Price. All three teams are slated to make the postseason, as the standings are now, with 2nd and 3rd place in the division looking at the Wild Card round. Like I’ve said in the past, this division isn’t going to be decided before the last day of the regular season. Making a pick to win the division is a bit of a blind shot, with all three of them capable of standing at the top.
David Price got off to a really slow start in a Red Sox uniform this year. While he has stabilized a bit, he still hasn’t been the ace we saw him be in Tampa Bay, Detroit, and Toronto. So you take all the bad starts from Price and put them into perspective. The Red Sox would be ahead right now if Price earned his paycheck in 2016. Price is always picked on for having a rather lackluster track record in the postseason, but here he hasn’t been too much help in the regular season.
Maybe he can play this year a bit differently, poor in the regular season, but is lights out in the postseason. The optimist in me is making that comment. It seems fitting that the Red Sox would win the division and rolled all the way to the World Series, as this is David Ortiz’s last season after all. Ortiz has been playing at a high level in 2016 and has shown no signs of looking like a guy ready for retirement. But let’s see if Ortiz can go on top as a champion. Another win against the Orioles tonight would certainly help that cause.
Boston Red Sox vs. Baltimore Orioles
David Price (10-8, 4.29 ERA) vs. Chris Tillman (15-4, 3.46 ERA) *** TILLMAN SCRATCHED***
The 4.29 ERA for Price is his worse since 2009, the first season he was a full timer in the majors. He threw a 4.42 ERA then, and is on pace for the second 4.00+ ERA year of his career. Price at his full potential and we hypothesize that the Red Sox would be a few games up the division. The offense has been there for the Red Sox, but Price is that one piece on the roster that hasn’t been clicking. He has gotten better from earlier, but still, hasn’t looked like the same pitcher. In his last three starts, Price has posted a 4.50 ERA and 1.45 WHIP. He’s allowed three or more runs in eight of his last ten outings. No, the Red Sox haven’t made well on their investment.
Chris Tillman has been a pretty potent weapon for the Orioles in 2016. Besides a few missteps, Tillman has been rock solid. There was a stretch between July 5th to July 21st where he allowed only 1 run per game, before getting hammered against the Rockies. However, he responded in his last three starts, posting a 3.38 ERA and 1.18 WHIP. The Orioles’ pitching overall has been on its game. The Baltimore bullpen is 3rd in the majors, posting a 3.15 ERA, trailing only the Nationals and Dodgers. A competent bullpen is the trick to finding success in the postseason, and the Orioles are a team that certainly has that. The Orioles look like a nice option tonight. They’re underdogs against Price, but this price is set with the brand name in mind. I see Baltimore as slight favorites in this game, but we are getting them as dogs.
PICK: ORIOLES TO WIN +116 **TILLMAN SCRATCHED – NO PLAY**