The first-place Boston Red Sox will host the Baltimore Orioles in the four game series finale Monday morning from Fenway Park. The Orioles will give the starting nod to 31-year old right-hander Andrew Cashner, and the Red Sox will turn to 27-year old left-hander Brian Johnson. The Red Sox have won the first two games of the series.
(game has been postponed)
Cashner Spins Gem, Eyes Third Straight Quality Start
Andrew Cashner will make his fourth start of the year, looking to improve his record to 2-1. Cashner was flawless in his latest effort, hurling seven shutout innings of four hit ball against the Blue Jays, however he finished with little run support and finished with the no decision. The 6-foot-6 right-hander has notched two straight Quality Starts, and he has conceded five earned runs in 18 innings on the season, equating to a 2.50 ERA and a 1.11 WHIP. He has allowed seven runs (five earned) in 12 career innings against the Red Sox. Mookie Betts is 1 for 6 against Cashner, while J.D Martinez is 0 for 2, and Hanley Ramirez is 3 for 25.
Many Orioles hitters are off to a slow start to the season including Chris Davis. The 32-year old slugger is hitting a poor .143 with one home run and only two RBI’s. Davis is 2 for 8 in this series, and he collected three homers with seven RBI’s in 69 at bats against the Red Sox last season. The Orioles are scuffling at the plate, averaging only 3.33 runs, ranking them down at 24th overall. Their pitching has also struggled, posting a 4.86 team ERA, positioning them down at 26th overall.
Johnson Makes Spot Start
Brian Johnson will make his fifth appearance and second start of the season in place of David Price in this one. Johnson is pitching well, allowing only three runs to go with 11 strikeouts in 10 innings of work this season. He limited the Marlins to one run in six innings in his lone start this season back on April 2nd. The fourth-year left-hander posted a 4.33 ERA and a 1.48 WHIP in 27 innings with the Red Sox last season. This will mark Johnson’s first career start against the Orioles.
Mookie Betts is the hottest Red Sox hitter right now, collecting eight hits along with nine RBI’s in his last six games played. The 25-year old right fielder drove in a run in the Red Sox’ series opening win on Friday night, and last season he registered 12 RBI’s in 77 at bats against the Orioles. Betts now features a sizzling .353 average with two homers and 10 RBI’s on the season. The Red Sox continue to rake, placing second in the Major Leagues with 6.14 runs per game. They feature a stellar 3.07 team ERA, good for fourth overall.
The Baltimore Orioles are:
- 4-0 in their last 4 games in the fourth game of a series.
The Boston Red Sox are:
- 1-4 in their last 5 games in the fourth game of a series.
I am taking the Orioles in this matchup, however my stronger play is on the total. The Orioles have fared well against left-handed pitching, ranking fifth in the Majors with a .268 average in 127 at bats against lefties this season, so I am confident they can get to Brian Johnson. Furthermore, Cashner has been very sharp in his last two starts, limiting the Yankees and Blue Jays to a combined two runs in 13 innings. Also, the Red Sox lineup is only hitting a combined .174 in 69 at bats against Cashner.
Pick: Baltimore Orioles
The Red Sox bats continue to pile on the runs and the Orioles should get to Red Sox starter Brian Johnson. Boston has been hitting everything lately, and they are now averaging over six runs per game, so they should have a solid day at the plate once again, and the over is 6-0-1 in their last seven games overall. Brian Johnson posted a subpar 4.33 ERA last season, and the O’s have been effective against left-handers this season, plus the over is 4-0 in their last four games against a left-handed starter.