The Braves’ NL East hopes have quickly faded after dropping 4 of 5 to the Mets over the weekend, but they responded well by going into Fenway and beating the Red Sox in extra innings Tuesday. As Boston fades further from the postseason picture, Alex Cora will turn to Nick Pivetta to face Kyle Wright and try his hand at quieting the Braves’ great offense.
Let’s take a look at starting lineups, betting odds, and predictions for Wednesday’s matchup.
Atlanta Braves vs. Boston Red Sox Betting Odds
The Braves enter as modest -144 favorites on the moneyline, with the over/under set at 9.5 runs. It’s a bit of a surprise Atlanta isn’t a bigger favorite, even while playing on the road in a stadium they don’t see often. The bats woke up on Tuesday night, led by a 5-RBI night from Austin Riley, and Nick Pivetta hasn’t done much over the past month to show he’s worth trusting.
The under could be a good value in this one. Even though 16 runs were scored on Tuesday, temperatures will be cooler than usual Wednesday and Wright might be due for a bounce-back performance.
Atlanta Braves Starting Lineup
RF R. Acuna R
SS D. Swanson R
1B M. Olson L
3B A. Riley R
LF E. Rosario L
DH M. Ozuna R
C W. Contreras R
CF M. Harris L
2B E. Adrianza S
Atlanta Braves vs. Nick Pivetta
Nick Pivetta has a tendency to give the Red Sox flashes of brilliance, but it doesn’t look like those flashes will ever become the norm. He has a rough 4.51 ERA across 22 starts (123.1 IP) this season, with a 4.16 FIP, 1.33 WHIP, and a disappointing 8.7 K/9 rate after averaging 10.2 last season. Metrics indicated Pivetta was due for improvement through much of the first half, but even those numbers haven’t survived an ugly July by the right-hander. After posting an 8.69 ERA over his last six starts, Pivetta’s xFIP has risen to 4.22.
The Braves haven’t been hitting like they did in June, but this isn’t an offense you can keep quiet for long. Atlanta has scored 9+ runs in three of its last eight games, proving Tuesday night that they can still beat up on a shaky pitching staff even after an embarrassing series against the Mets.
Austin Riley continues to be the catalyst – he’s hitting .387 with 12 home runs and 31 RBI since the start of July. After Alex Cora took some heat for not intentionally walking him in extra innings on Tuesday, you might start to see Pivetta and others pitch around him. This could afford some RBI opportunities for Matt Olson, who is always an extra-base hit threat. Pivetta’s hit rate has been elevated this season, so look for Ronald Acuna Jr. as someone who could do serious damage. Acuna is 10-for-20 over his last 5 games.
Boston Red Sox Starting Lineup
LF T. Pham R
3B R. Devers L
SS X. Bogaerts R
RF A. Verdugo L
DH J. Martinez R
2B C. Arroyo R
1B B. Dalbec R
C K. Plawecki R
CF J. Duran L
Boston Red Sox vs. Kyle Wright
A breakout season for Kyle Wright was interrupted by an ugly start against the Mets last week, when the Vanderbilt product allowed 6 runs and 4 home runs (!) over 6 IP. While Wright was facing a red-hot Mets team looking to pad its NL East lead, this is a different situation: the Red Sox are just 7-18 over their last 25 games, with a .229 AVG in August. That should allow a typically steady Wright to settle back into a groove. Wright has a 3.22 ERA over 128.2 IP this season, with a 3.75 FIP, 1.17 WHIP, and 124 strikeouts.
Wright struggled tremendously with control over the first 70 innings of his career from 2018-2021. He’s settled down this year, with a 2.7 BB/9 rate, but a flare up is always a concern on the road – even against a Red Sox team that doesn’t walk much.
Wright has done a nice job of limiting solid contact this season. His home run rate was excellent before last week’s power explosion by the Mets. The odds of that issue carrying over to Fenway seem low. Rafael Devers is the only serious power threat in the lineup, though Jarren Duran and the scorching hot Christian Arroyo proved that doesn’t always matter on Tuesday. The Red Sox are expected to be without new acquisition Eric Hosmer, who fouled a pitch off his foot in the series opener.
Atlanta Braves vs. Boston Red Sox Picks & Prediction
My pick: Under 9.5 Runs (-114)
These two offenses got the fireworks out of the way on Tuesday night. While there’s probably no way Boston’s pitching staff goes totally unscathed against the Braves’ potent offense, I’m all in on a bounce-back start from Kyle Wright that should keep the runs in this game limited enough.
This extended stretch of losing for the Red Sox won’t last forever, but there isn’t much reason to believe Nick Pivetta can hold up against Atlanta’s lineup after his struggles against the Yankees and Blue Jays. Braves -1.5 (+110) is worth a look.