Baltimore Orioles at Boston Red Sox
When and Where: Wednesday, Sept. 26, Fenway Park, Boston, Mass., 7:10 p.m. EDT.
The Red Sox have seemingly accomplished everything they have needed to do with five games to spare. Chris Sale now makes his final start ahead of Game 1 of the American League Division Series on Wednesday night when Boston wraps up a three-game series with the Baltimore Orioles in the second game of a doubleheader.
The Red Sox have set a franchise record with 106 victories after Monday’s 6-2 victory that also clinched the best record in the majors for 2018. Boston has won three consecutive division titles for the first time in club history, though it did drop series at fellow playoff teams Cleveland and New York ahead of this three-game set.
O’s hold back Ramirez, turn to Yacobonis
The second-year hurler is making his sixth start and 11th overall appearance on the season. Yacabonis turned in a solid start last time out, scattering two hits and one walk over four shutout innings as Baltimore defeated Toronto 2-1 on Sept. 19.
The right-hander took one of his two losses against Boston on Aug. 11, getting reached for three runs — all of them scoring on homers by Eduardo Nunez and Jackie Bradley Jr. — and five hits in 4 2-3 innings of a 5-0 defeat at Camden Yards.
Yacabonis made two relief appearances versus the Red Sox last year, giving up one run and two hits in 1 1-3 innings.
Sale expected to throw around 90 pitches versus O’s
In an announcement that surprised no one, the Red Sox named Sale (12-4, 2.00 ERA) their Game 1 starter, regardless of who wins the wild-card game between the New York Yankees versus the Oakland Athletics.
“He’ll be scheduled to start, I don’t think it’ll surprise anybody, the first day of the postseason,” Red Sox president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski said while on MLB Network Radio for SiriusXM. “I don’t mean to usurp anybody’s announcements, but I think it’s one of those that have been pretty clear.”
Sale has made three starts since coming off the disabled list Sept. 11 due to shoulder inflammation. The left-hander has progressed from 26 to 42 to 73 pitches in those games and lasted 3 1-3 innings against Cleveland on Friday while allowing two runs and five hits.
Depending on how long it takes Sale to reach that 90-pitch limit, he has a small margin of error to become the first Red Sox starter to finish with a sub-2.00 ERA since Pedro Martinez posted a 1.74 mark in 2000. Sale, though, would need to last 8 2-3 innings to qualify among the league leaders for the season.
The lefty has been ruthless against Baltimore, striking out 29 in just 16 innings over three starts while going 2-0 and allowing two runs and six hits in 16 innings. Sale fanned 12 and allowed one hit in five shutout innings of an 8-1 victory at Baltimore on Aug. 12 in the most recent matchup.
Sale is 7-0 with a 1.41 ERA and 80 strikeouts in just 51 innings over his last eight starts versus the Orioles while holding them to a .152 batting average. Shortstop Tim Beckham has been overmatched against the southpaw, going 0 for 15 with nine strikeouts.
The Red Sox are:
- 5-0 in Sale’s last five home starts.
- 13-1 in Sale’s last 14 starts during game 3 of a series.
- 6-0 in Sale’s last six starts vs. the Orioles.
- The under is 4-0-2 in Sale’s last six home starts.
- The under is 4-1-1 in Sale’s last six starts vs. AL East opponents.
- The under is 3-0-2 in Sale’s last five home starts vs. sub-.500 teams.
The Orioles are:
- 8-17 in their last 25 Wednesday games.
- 15-36 in their last 51 during game 3 of a series.
- 0-4 in their last four second games of doubleheaders.
- The under is 3-1-2 in their last six road games vs. the Red Sox.
- The under is 2-0-2 in their last four games vs. the Red Sox.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The biggest drama surrounding this game is just how long Sale will last before he reaches his pitch count. It is hard to imagine any scenario the Orioles will want to face him in the back end of a double-header — especially after facing Price in the opener of the twinbill.
Sale’s track record against Baltimore provides a healthy amount of confidence for taking the Red Sox.
Prediction: Pick: Red Sox -360
Full-Game Total Pick
Originally, this pick was an under for nine runs and Ramirez, but having it drop to eight with Yacabonis makes it far more challenging to hit, especially with the likelihood Sale does not go beyond five innings in this game. Yacabonis has a 6.00 ERA in his five starts but is also making the first road start of his young career.
Prediction: Pick: OVER 8 runs (-120)
Full-Game Prop Bet
With the expectation the Red Sox will overturn about half their lineup from the opening game of this doubleheader, getting to six runs will be a challenge. Boston, though, still has plenty of pop up and down its order and should be able to continue having its way with Baltimore.
Prediction: Pick: Red Sox OVER 5.5 runs (+110)
First Five Innings Side Pick
This is the best place to use Sale’s innings, giving the one-half run as an aggressive play compared to the staggering -380 on the straight money line.
Prediction: Pick: Red Sox -0.5 runs (-225)
First Five Innings Total Bet
This pick tries to thread the needle through Sale’s dominance with the expectation the Red Sox will pull away eventually to put enough runs on the board for the over to hit for their run total and the overall run total for the contest.
Prediction: Pick: UNDER 4.5 runs (-115)
First Five Innings Prop Prediction
Sale has not given up a run in the opening frame his three starts since coming off the DL, and he should extend that run to four here. Yacabonis has given up a first-inning run in just one of his prior five starts.
Prediction: Pick: NO to 1st-inning run