After a big win against Clayton Kershaw two nights ago, I got greedy by backing the Cincinnati Reds to beat the Milwaukee Brewers by two runs. The price (+175) was nice and there was solid logic to it, but like the Reds have done for much of the year, they failed to deliver.
I’ve only been back in the MLB picks scene for a couple days now, so that drops me to 1-1 on the year. The hope is to get back on the winning path tonight and bettors have a solid four-game schedule once the early slate is done.
One of my favorite games on the docket goes down at Globe Life Park, where the Texas Rangers play host to the Boston Red Sox.
The Red Sox come in as pretty mild favorites (-148 at BetOnline) despite pushing ace David Price onto the mound. He has his work cut out for him in a brutal hitter’s park on the road, but he’s got one of the most explosive offenses in the majors backing him. In addition, the beatable Mike Minor will oppose him on the other side and the Texas offense is far from reliable.
This all sets up very favorable for the Bo Sox, who are 22-8 on the year and lead the way in the loaded AL East. The Rangers will look for the big upset (even if Vegas won’t price it as such) as they try to add to their weak 12-20 record and dig their way out of the cellar of the AL West.
Boston Red Sox @ Texas Rangers
- Runline: Bos -1.5 (-106) Tex +1.5 (-114)
- Total: 9.5 (-115)
Nothing here looks great for the Rangers, who are a paltry 4-12 in their home park this year and don’t come in hot (5-5 over their last 10 contests). The Sox have also slowed down a bit (5-5 during that same stretch), but they’ve been one of the most dangerous teams (11-4) on the road.
You can’t go simply off of home/away splits, but it’s not a bad place to start in a series that appears mismatched from the jump.
There is a big gap in this pitching showdown, too. David Price isn’t quite the stud he once was, but he can still make bats miss and he isn’t really a guy known for getting shelled all that much. He’s also been far better when he’s away from the potent Fenway Park (2-1, 2.29 ERA) this year. I’m not sure we can blindly accept that stat line in Globe Life Park, but his form on the road has been good.
The matchup isn’t exactly easy. The Rangers do whiff quite a bit, but it’s their lack of power against southpaws (21st in MLB) that is worth noting. Texas does still have a potent offense that can mash the ball, but they rank 17th in batting average against lefties and also struggle (22nd in runs scored) at home.
Perhaps tough matchups play into that, or Texas simply hasn’t gotten it going enough. Nobody will be shocked to learn this is an inconsistent bunch, though, and now they’re hosting a solid pitcher in a game where they’re the obvious underdog.
That isn’t a scenario where the Rangers have thrived, either. Texas is just 3-10 ATS as home underdogs and 3-10 as a whole when Vegas doubts them at Globe Life Park.
As for Boston, there is a lot to like here. Obviously they should get a solid outing from their ace, but their offense gets a nice park to work out of. Usually the Red Sox see a downgrade in park factor when they head out on the road, but that’s not really the case here.
On top of playing in a stadium good for scoring, the Red Sox face Mike Minor, who has actually been very good as a reliever. Texas has attempted to stretch him out a as a starter, however, and so far it’s delivered mixed results.
Minor has talent, but he gives up a good amount of contact and can be prone to fly balls. He got waxed in his last outing (4 runs on 9 hits) and has given up 5 or more hits in three straight contests. He also got shelled three starts ago (5 hits, 5 runs) and tonight gets the luxury of facing a Boston lineup that is quite good.
The Red Sox aren’t an offense to slam much, as they don’t whiff a ton and they’re typically patient at the plate. In 2018 alone, Boston ranks 5th in home runs, 2nd in RBI, 2nd in runs scored and first in batting average. They could walk more, but they make a lot of contact and rank 19th in strikeouts.
This all sounds bad for Minor, who probably doesn’t have the experience to handle this good of an offense in this setting.
Ultimately, I think Boston has the easy edge on the mound and their offense is far easier to trust. They do not grade out well against lefties from a strict batting average perspective, but they have several guys who destroy left-handed pitching.
It’s worth noting that J.D. Martinez was pulled from yesterday’s game and would be a key absence. However, it sounds like he’ll play through the injury.
There isn’t much here to convince me to take on the Rangers. The value isn’t even that alluring, while everything points to an easy Boston win. Considering that, -148 feels like a steal.