Game: Boston Red Sox at Houston Astros
Time: 8:08 PM ET
Starting Pitchers: Nathan Eovaldi vs. Luis Garcia
Odds: Red Sox -101, Houston -108
It’s do or die for the Boston Red Sox. The Houston Astros hold a 3-2 series lead and can end it all with a win tonight at home. The series shifts back to Houston for Game 6 tonight and Game 7, if necessary. Facing a must-win, Boston will start Nathan Eovaldi who won Game 2 against the Astros.
In that start, Eovaldi pitched 5.1 innings and allowed three earned runs. Boston won 9-5. Eovaldi needs to go five and preferably six innings or more for the Red Sox tonight. In Game 5, Boston had to use five relievers after starter Chris Sale left in the sixth inning. The Boston bullpen is taxed and that could be a problem. Don’t forget, the Red Sox have won the last four of Eovaldi’s starts and 10 of his last 11.
Houston will go with Luis Garcia who started opposite Eovaldi in Game 2. Garcia took the loss in that game after getting rocked for five earned runs in the first inning. Surprisingly, Houston hasn’t won in each of Garcia’s last three starts. The last time the Astros won with Garcia getting the start was on Sept. 22.
Garcia is a solid pitcher. He went 11-8 during the regular season with a 3.30 ERA. What will help Garcia tonight is the revived Houston offense. The Astros have scored nine runs in each of the last two games against Boston. That’s more like the Houston offense that led MLB in runs per game at 5.41.
The other plus for Houston is its bullpen. Framber Valdez was able to pitch eight innings in Game 5 as the Astros scored a 9-1 win. Ryne Stanek came on to pitch the ninth inning, the only reliever that Houston used in Game 5. That leaves the Astros relievers well-rested and ready to go in Game 6. Kendall Graveman and Ryan Pressly will both be available putting even more pressure on a Boston lineup to produce runs.
After pumping out 21 runs in consecutive wins over Houston, the Red Sox bats have cooled off. Boston won Games 2 and 3 by scores of 9-5 and 12-3, respectively. Enrique Hernandez (.422, 5 HR 9 RBI), Xander Bogaerts (.286, 3 HR, 6 RBI), and Rafael Devers (.325, 5 HR, 12 RBI) need to find their Game 2 and 3 bats. Devers did go 2-for-3 in Game 5 but Hernandez and Bogaerts were both 0-for-4.
Tonight’s total is set at 9. Each game of the series has gone Over the total. For Boston, their last eight games have seen the total go Over. It’s the same for Houston. The total has gone Over in eight of the last eight games. One interesting stat bettors should consider is that the Under has hit in seven of the last ten games when Boston plays Houston on the road at Minute Maid Park.