The Boston Red Sox finally dropped a game after a seven-game win streak. But it was mostly a scheduled loss with Connor Seabold on the mound and a few guys ineligible to play because of vaccination status.
The Toronto Blue Jays tore apart the BoSox behind a gem from Kevin Gausman. They’ll look to win the series with the young-but-great Alek Manoah on the mound.
But good luck getting past Nick Pivetta, who has been unbelievable in recent weeks.
Read on for the starting lineups, betting odds, and my prediction for Game 3 of this pivotal AL East three-game set.
Boston Red Sox vs Toronto Blue Jays Odds
I think this line should be closer to -110 than it is. Manoah is amazing, but Pivetta has been just as good.
The total being 8.5 seems about right, but it’s so hard for this game to stay under with two of the hardest-hitting offenses in baseball. The wind is projected to be blowing in from left field, however.
Boston Red Sox Starting Lineup
N. Pivetta R
8-5 3.25 ERA
RF R. Refsnyder R
3B R. Devers L
DH J. Martinez R
SS X. Bogaerts R
LF A. Verdugo L
2B T. Story R
1B F. Cordero L
C C. Vazquez R
CF J. Bradley L
Boston Red Sox vs Alek Manoah
Manoah’s strikeouts are way down. It’s dropped 5% year-over-year as he’s now striking out just eight batters per nine innings before posting a K/9 over 10 for two straight years in the Toronto system.
However, nothing else is down.
Image credit: Baseball Savant
The Red Sox offense has turned into the best in the league. However, it’s really important to check the lineup card right now. Jarren Duran has been the leadoff hitter but he is unvaccinated. Kiké Hernandez is still hurt. So, who knows what we’ll get out of the lineup in this one.
Manoah has also shut down these Sox batters, holding them to just a .175 xBA and a .273 xSLG over 51 PAs against current Boston bats.
Be wary, Red Sox backers.
Toronto Blue Jays Starting Lineup
A. Manoah R
9-2 2.05 ERA
CF G. Springer R
SS B. Bichette R
1B V. Guerrero R
C A. Kirk R
RF T. Hernandez R
DH L. Gurriel R
3B M. Chapman R
2B S. Espinal R
LF C. Biggio L
Toronto Blue Jays vs Nick Pivetta
No pitch in baseball has a better Run Value this season than Pivetta’s four-seam fastball, which has a -16 in that category while holding opposing hitters to a .258 wOBA.
He isn’t doing anything different. Pivetta’s spin rate and velocity is consistent across the board year-over-year and he hasn’t re-worked his pitch mix at all. He’s just painting the corners while keeping his walks and home runs down.
Pivetta is the X-factor for the Red Sox. Boston needs a secondary arm to pair with Nathan Eovaldi at the top of the rotation. When Pivetta goes, the Red Sox goes. And since Pivetta started dealing – he has a 1.85 ERA in 10 starts since May 7th while averaging over 6 ⅔ innings per start – the Red Sox have been playing .700 baseball.
But can you shut down the Blue Jays? This lineup has posted a whopping 144 wRC+ over the past month while slugging .512.
Alejandro Kirk has established himself as the best catcher in baseball, overtaking Willson Contreras for the positional lead in fWAR. He’s walking more than he’s striking out and his xwOBA is particularly up on fastballs.
It’s also amazing how he peppers the ballpark. While most of his right-handed home runs go over the left-field fence, a surprising amount of his hits land in right field. He hits it oppo over 30% of the time.
Image credit: Baseball Savant
Boston Red Sox vs Toronto Blue Jays Pick & Prediction
My picks: Red Sox ML (+124 at WynnBet Sportsbook)
I believe in the Pivetta hype. He’s probably due for a bit of regression, but his fastball is unhittable right now and I don’t expect the Blue Jays’ fastball-heavy approach against a pitch running this well.
Plus, the value is good with the Red Sox. For as good as the Blue Jays are, especially at home, -140 is overpriced for in this Game 3 divisional matchup scenario. Divisional underdogs are always a sharp play.
I’ll bet Boston’s ML at +120 or better.