MLB Betting Preview: Boston Red Sox vs. Oakland Athletics

Joshua Clarke

On Monday night, all the Oakland Athletics did was hit, hit and hit some more.  For the Red Sox…well, they didn’t.  The final score of the ballgame was 7-0 and the A’s offense exploded for 4 home runs on the night, including the 5th home run of the season already for Khris Davis. Moving to Tuesday, the two teams will match up again as the Boston Red Sox (1-4) travel to the Oakland Coliseum to take on the Oakland A’s (4-3).  In the matchup, the Red Sox will send lefty Chris Sale (0-1, 21.00 ERA) to the bump to take on the A’s Mike Fiers (1-1, 5.00 ERA).  First pitch for the contest is scheduled for 10:07 pm ET.

The moneyline for Tuesday’s game is set at the Boston Red Sox -180 and the Oakland Athletics +150.  The over/under on runs scored is set at 7.5.

Red Sox Trying To Break Slow Start

It isn’t just that the Red Sox have started off the season 1-4 that is concerning for Boston fans, it is the fact that their pitching staff has looked rather vulnerable in the process.  For instance, on Monday, lefty David Price was lit up for 4 earned runs in 6 innings.  He did strike out 9, but gave up 5 hits and 2 walks, with 3 of those hits being home runs. Tuesday’s starter, Chris Sale, certainly did not fare any better in his first start of the season.  In his first outing, against Seattle, Chris Sale gave up 7 earned runs on 6 hits (3 home runs), 2 walks and 4 strikeouts in a 12-4 loss. If his outing wasn’t bad enough, the bullpen, which was the subject of a lot of scrutiny over the offseason, gave up an additional 5 runs.  If they want to turn their slow start around, it is going to have to start with the pitching staff and ace Chris Sale is a good place to start.

On the offensive side, no one was able to get it going in the series opener with the A’s.  Xander Bogaerts, fresh off of his new extension, led the way with 2 hits, but aside from that, there wasn’t a whole lot else going on.  Still, the offense can be deadly, especially with the likes of Mookie Betts and JD Martinez in it.  Thus far, Betts is batting .263/.300/.421 with a home run, run batted in and 4 runs scored.  For Martinez, he has been a little hotter, hitting .412/.474/.765 with a 1.238 OPS. He also has 2 home runs, 7 runs batted in and 4 runs scored.   Martinez has also had a ton of success against Mike Fiers.  In his career, he is hitting .500 (7 for 14) with 2 home runs and 2 runs batted in.

Oakland Is Loving The Long Ball

Four home runs off of the defending champions is a great way to start any series.  With that in mind, though, the A’s will likely have a tougher time squaring up ace Chris Sale.  Of all the A’s starters, only two players have had much in the way of success against him.  MarcusSemien is 4 for 12 with 2 home runs while Kendrys Morales has 2 home runs, 6 runs batted in and is hitting .257 in 35 at bats.  Still, one of the hottest hitters in the league right now is KhrisDavis. On the short season, he already has 5 home runs and 9 runs batted in and is seeing the ball really well.  If he and the rest of the A’s can continue to play the way they have, it should be a very interesting AL West division.

On the pitching side, Oakland will be turning to righty Mike Fiers in game 2 of the series.  Because of their early series against Seattle in Japan, this will already be the 3rdstart of the season for Fiers.  Coming into this one, he is 1-1 with a 5.00 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in 9 innings.  In those 9 innings, he has given up 5 hits, 5 walks, 5 earned runs and has struck out, you guessed it, 5 batters.  Fiers will have to turn it on, though, as he faces one of the better offenses on paper in the American League.

Putting My Faith In Sale

Chris Sale certainly did not pitch well in his first outing and there were some red flags, including a little bit of decreased velocity. Still, if you are going to ask me who I would take between Sale and Mike Fiers, it will be Sale all day, everyday. Oakland is certainly the hotter team, and in baseball, that is hard to discount; however, I still think the smarter money is with the Boston Red Sox in this one to get it turned around on Tuesday. I wouldn’t blame you if you wanted to take the hot hand at +150 in the A’s, but for my money, I still feel more comfortable at -180 for the Red Sox.