Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#761 Boston Red Sox vs.
#762 Baltimore Orioles
Thursday, April 8, 2021 at 3:05pm EDT
Written by Blake V.

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Boston will look to extend a three-game winning streak when it travels to Baltimore on Thursday afternoon. This will be the second series between these division rivals already this season. Baltimore swept Boston at Camden Yards during opening weekend before losing their series against the Yankees.

Rodriguez ready for first start since 2019

Boston got off to a bad start this season, losing its three games at Baltimore. The Red Sox were only able to scratch five combined runs across in those three defeats. They bounced back earlier this week, sweeping Tampa Bay at home. Tuesday’s win came in a 6-5 thriller in extra innings, while the other two wins came by a combined score of 20-4. Tampa Bay scored the first run on Wednesday, but the Red Sox scored nine runs between the fourth and fifth innings. They rank No. 15 in the MLB in team batting average, hitting .236 on the season.

Shortstop Xander Bogaerts went 3-for-3 at the plate on Wednesday. Designated hitter Chris Vazquez went 2-for-4 and hit a homer in the win. Boston will face a Baltimore pitching staff that is No. 17 with a team ERA of 3.98. Left-handed pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez is set to make his first start of the season on Thursday. He missed all of last year with myocarditis. Rodriguez went 19-6 and struck out 213 batters in 2019. His career road starts against Baltimore include a 5-2 record and 2.60 ERA. He experienced a dead arm after his final spring start, which is why his first start was pushed back.

Orioles coming into home opener off series loss

Baltimore will play its home opener on Thursday after six consecutive road games to open the season. The Orioles got off to a fantastic start, sweeping Boston at Fenway Park. They outscored the Red Sox 18-5 in that series. Their second series did not go nearly as well, as New York picked up two dominant wins to open the series. The Yankees and Orioles wrapped up the series on Wednesday night, but this story was published prior to that game’s conclusion. This will be the first of seven straight home games for Baltimore. The Orioles ranked No. 10 in team batting average (.254) heading into Wednesday night’s game.

Center fielder Cedric Mullins is off to an excellent start, recording 11 hits in 21 at-bats. He batted .271 in 140 at-bats last season. Boston’s pitching staff has been average, entering Thursday’s game with a team ERA of 3.94. Right-handed pitcher Matt Harvey is expected to start for Baltimore on Thursday afternoon. Harvey pitched 4.2 innings on Saturday against the Red Sox, allowing two runs on six hits. He struck out four batters and his average fastball speed was just under 93 mph. Harvey had an 0-3 record and 11.57 ERA with Kansas City last season. He has undergone Tommy John surgery, thoracic outlet surgery and dealt with a stress fracture over the last few years.

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Boston is playing much better baseball since its struggles against Baltimore out of the gates this season. The Red Sox put together a very impressive sweep of the Rays earlier this week. Bogaerts is playing phenomenally on offense and the team will be happy to have Rodriguez back as a starting pitcher. He has great lifetime numbers against the Orioles and had an excellent season in 2019. The Red Sox should be able to hit Harvey pretty hard. He does not have the velocity to blow hitters away and has had awful numbers over the last few years.

Prediction: Boston -1.5

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There are some pretty major question marks about both starting pitchers in this game. Rodriguez is coming off a serious injury that caused him to miss the entire 2020 season. He had good numbers in 2019, but there could certainly be some road bumps on his journey back to that point. Harvey was one of the worst starting pitchers in the league last season and is having to face the Boston lineup for the second time in a week. I expect the Red Sox to do even more damage this time around, as they are more familiar with him.

Prediction: Over 9.5
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Written By Blake Von Hagen , "Blake V."

Blake is a lifelong sports fan and hoops junkie. Prior to joining our team at Winners & Whiners and StatSalt, Blake worked for several newspapers and websites. He enjoys combining his beat writing expertise with the knack for finding the winning edge in a matchup. Remember, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.