Featured Video from Scott Steehn
Oakland Athletics (20-21 SU, 18-23 RL, 21-18-2 O/U) vs. Boston Red Sox (28-13 SU, 19-22 RL, 20-20-1 O/U)
MLB: Wednesday, May 16, 2018 at 7:10 EST
The Boston Red Sox and Oakland Athletics will wrap up a three-game series when they clash at Fenway Park in Boston on Wednesday night. Oakland is still 2-5 in its last seven contests despite taking the opener on Monday. The Red Sox have cooled off, with an 11-11 record since their blistering 17-2 start.
Captains of clutch
The Athletics, who have won three in a row against Boston, hit three solo homers en route to a 6-5 victory on Monday. Khris Davis homered and has eight HRs in 21 road games this season. Davis is batting just .213, but he has gone deep 12 times and has driven in 36 runs. With that in, Oakland improved to 7-2 in one-run games during the 2018 campaign. That has a lot to do with closer Blake Treinen, who has seven saves to go along with a 0.93 ERA.
Right-hander Kendall Graveman (1-5, 7.60 ERA) is taking the mound for Oakland on Wednesday. Graveman has been a disaster so far in 2018, with a terrible record and an even worse ERA. He got demoted to Triple-A late last month but returned to the majors and saved himself a spot in the rotation at least temporarily with a quality start last Friday against the Yankees. Gravenman worked 6.0 innings and allowed just one earned run (four in total) on three hits and two walks while striking out four batters in a 10-6 victory for the Athletics. (edit: Trevor Cahill will now go for Oakland. He is 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA this season).
Sale in charge
The Red Sox have dipped back into second place in the American League East for just the second time since the beginning of April. Their latest setback saw them give up three solo homers and 11 hits overall to Oakland on Monday, dropping them to 11-11 since their 17-2 start and a half-game behind the Yankees in the division. J.D. Martinez homered among two hits for Boston and he has left the yard in six of his last 12 games while pushing his average to .346. Right fielder Mookie Betts had two hits in the loss to raise his major league-leading average to .362.
Chris Sale (3-1, 2.17 ERA) will oppose Graveman in what on paper is one of the most lopsided pitching matchups of the Major League Baseball season. The left-hander has been up to his usual tricks in 2018, with seven quality starts in nine appearances. Sale’s worst outing of the season is three runs allowed in 6.0 innings of work–which…yes…is still a quality start. The 29-year-old most recently faced Toronto last Friday, when he pitched a 9.0-inning gem while giving up three runs on six hits and compiling an incredible 15-to-0 strikeout-to-walk ration despite a 5-3, 12-inning loss by Boston.
The Oakland Athletics are:
- 2-5 in their last seven overall
- 3-9 in their last 12 games against teams with winning records
- 1-5 in their last six games against starters with WHIPs under 1.15
The Boston Red Sox are:
- 28-12 in their last 40 overall
- 11-5 in their last 16 home games
- 37-17 in their last 54 games against teams with losing records
Nothing about this bodes well for the Athletics, even though Boston has cooled off of late. It is simply impossible to pick against Sale right now. Oakland is 2-5 in its last seven overall, 3-9 in its last 12 against winning opponents, 1-5 in its last six against starters with WHIPs under 1.15, and 18-44 in its last 62 on the road against Boston. The Red Sox are 28-12 in their last 40 overall, 11-5 in their last 16 at home, 38-16 in their last 54 against right-handed starters, 40-18 in their last 58 at home against right-handed starters, 9-4 in Sale’s last 13 home starts, and 16-7 in Sale’s last 23 starts on four days of rest. Count on those trends continuing.
Pick: Boston Red Sox
Oakland at least managed to get three runs in 7.0 innings off Sale when these two teams squared off on April 21. Boston is No. 1 in all of baseball in slugging percentage and it is second in both batting average and runs scored. The over is 7-2 in the Athletics’ last nine on the road against opponents with home winning percentages over .600 and 26-8-2 in their last 36 against starters with WHIPs under 1.15. It is also 10-4-1 in Boston’s last 15 at home, 12-5 in its last 17 at home against losing opponents, 4-1 in Sale’s last five home starts, and 5-1 in his last six home starts against losing opponents. Additionally, the over is 6-2 in Oakland’s last eight road games against Boston. Look for this one to go over the total.