Game: Boston Red Sox at Baltimore Orioles
Time: 7:05 PM ET
Starting Pitchers: Nathan Eovaldi vs. Zac Lowther
Odds: Red Sox -235, Orioles +216
Boston continues to cling to the AL’s second wild card. They didn’t help themselves last night losing to AL East last-place Baltimore 4-2. It was the Red Sox (88-69) fourth straight loss. Meanwhile, Seattle (88-70) was busy knocking off Oakland to keep its playoff hopes alive.
The Red Sox get another chance to solidify their playoff position when they face the Orioles in Game 2 of this series tonight at Camden Yards. The problem for Boston is they have to do it with Nathan Eovaldi as the starting pitcher. He hasn’t been pitching all that well as of late.
His last start was a complete disaster. Eovaldi lasted just 2.2 innings and gave up seven earned runs to the Yankees. Boston would lose 8-3, one of three in the Yankees’ three-game sweep of the Red Sox last weekend. Eovaldi’s previous start just happened to be against these same Orioles. Baltimore pounded out seven hits and three earned runs chasing him after five innings. Eovaldi got lucky as Boston pulled out the win 8-6.
So, for his last two starts, Eovaldi has pitched 7.2 innings, allowed 14 hits, and 10 earned runs. Still, he is a pitcher that Boston has counted on all season for victories. Prior to the loss to the Yankees last Friday, Boston had won Eovaldi’s last six straight starts. He is 10-9 on the season and his ERA, while not great the last two games, is a respectable 3.83.
What Eovaldi really needs is the Red Sox lineup to catch fire. Boston has gone four straight games scoring three or fewer runs. The Red Sox have the third-best batting average (.261), third-best OPS (.777), and rank fourth in MLB in scoring (5.13). Four Boston hitters bat .275 or better and three of those players have 23 or more home runs. Rafael Devers leads the Red Sox with 35 home runs and 108 RBIs.
The Boston lineup will go up against Zac Lowther who, like most Baltimore pitchers, does not have very good numbers. He is 1-2 in five appearances this season. The Orioles had lost his first four starts before he picked up a win over Texas, the last-place team in the AL West. Lowther’s ERA is a healthy 7.66 and he has been rocked a few times. In a recent start against Toronto, Lowther lasted all of two innings. He gave up seven earned runs in a 22-7 loss.
Even if Lowther can go five innings, the Baltimore bullpen will come into play. The Orioles pitching staff, collectively, is the worst in baseball. Baltimore relievers have the worst bullpen ERA in baseball (5.65). That could spell trouble for the Orioles in later innings.
With Boston’s recent offensive woes and Baltimore’s weak lineup, both teams have trended toward the Under recently. The total has gone Under in four of Boston’s last six games. The Orioles have seen the total go Under in six of their last eight games.