The Cleveland Guardians and Boston Red Sox entered this season with very different expectations, but entered this weekend series in a similar position; right around .500 after about a month of baseball. The visiting Guardians took game 1, but let’s take a look at game 2, where my prediction is for a high-scoring game to push the run total over 9.
Guardians Vs. Red Sox Prediction
The Guardians are perhaps emerging from a bit of a rough patch; before a series-ending win over the Rockies and taking the opener against the Sox, they were stuck in a 2-7 run. But, consecutive wins have them optimistic that their fortune is about to change, and they’ll make the surge towards the top of the AL Central that so many of us imagined they would this season.
For the Red Sox, it’s just been an up-and-down first month, filled with good and bad performances alike. This is a team that is still establishing an identity, but if they’re going to compete this year, they don’t have all season to start playing their best baseball; even at essentially .500, they’re dead last in the hyper-competitive AL East.
The starting pitching matchup is relatively even, in the sense that neither arm inspires an incredible amount of confidence. For Cleveland, the starter will be Zach Plesac, who impressed in the shortened 2020 campaign, but struggled in each of the past two seasons. This year, he’s off to an even worse start; through four appearances he’s averaging less than five innings pitched, and his 15 runs allowed outnumber just 13 strikeouts.
Boston will be tossing Dominican youngster Brayan Bello, after the originally scheduled starter, Garrett Whitlock, hit the IL. Bello, a sinker specialist with good pitch velocity, struggled in his first big-league action last year, although he did keep the ball in the yard as he only gave up one homer in over 57 innings of work.
This year has been a bit different; in just 7.1 innings, he’s given up two long balls, and 8 earned runs. He was demoted to the minors a couple of days ago, but was brought right back up when Whitlock was ruled out; he’ll look to make the most of this second chance.
As much as I believe in Bello’s talent in the long run, he simply has not had it this season, and being hastily recalled after being sent down just a few days ago is not a recipe for success. Neither pitcher is outstanding, so I really love the over, and I’m also going to have to take Cleveland on the moneyline; it’s hard to throw my money behind a kid who has an ERA of nearly 10 this year, and woke up as a minor leaguer the day before his start.
Guardians Vs. Red Sox Prediction: o9 runs (+100), Guardians ML (+115)
Guardians Vs. Red Sox Odds
The Sox are home favorites, with -135 odds on the moneyline compared to +115 for the Guardians. For a run total of 9, the over is even money at +100 while the under is -120.
A quick breakdown of the odds text – can be as simple as stating out what the odds are.
Guardians Vs. Red Sox Key Matchups
List out a couple of key matchups to watch out for this game. 1-2 is fine.
Zach Plesac vs. Seven Lefties
When you look at the Red Sox lineup, one thing immediately jumps off of the page; seven left-handed hitters. This team is set up to crush righties, and as the third-highest scoring offense so far, they’ve done a good amount of just that.
Plesac is a righty, and his platoon splits aren’t too dramatic, but the lefties do get on base more and strike out much less- a tough combo for him in this matchup. The big lefties that stick out are led by Rafael Devers, the outstanding young third baseman. He already has 9 homers, as he can rip the ball off of anyone, righty or lefty, and could be in line for a big day against Plesac.
Newcomer Masataka Yoshida also swings from the left side, and has put up some good numbers early in his MLB tenure. Alex Verdugo, another lefty, is also swinging well, closer to the potential he showed in LA and in the 2020 mini-season.
One hitter Plesac will need to go after is former Dodgers star Justin Turner, who is both a righty, and is not swinging a particularly hot bat to start the year. Nobody’s putting up MVP numbers thus far, and like I mentioned, Plesac doesn’t get hit too badly by lefties, but with so many up and down the lineup, he’ll have to be careful.
Brayan Bello vs. The Heart of Cleveland’s Lineup
The Guardians have not hit the ball well to start this season; their OPS of .661 ranks 28th in the MLB thus far. But the top of the lineup still features hitters who we know are fully capable of hitting at an All Star or even near-MVP level, so it’s definitely a stretch to write off this offense so early in the campaign.
Mike Zunino, for one, is swinging a hot bat, which he flashed at times during his tenures in Tampa and Seattle. He leads the team with a very nice OPS of .875 through nearly a month of the season. The other Guardian who’s hitting pretty well is, to nobody’s surprise, Jose Ramirez. The veteran superstar is a model of consistency and isn’t playing near his own lofty ceiling, but has been productive nonetheless.
Then there’s a few players who are capable of more than they’re contributing right now; Josh Bell has been mediocre so far, but is a candidate to break out. Steven Kwan and Josh Naylor both had pretty nice 2022 campaigns, but have been hardly league-average, if even that, this year.
The ability of these players to return to their best form, particularly against a young pitcher who has not yet been effective, is a big reason why I’m picking the Guardians to win in my Guardians vs. Red Sox prediction.
Guardians Vs. Red Sox Starting Lineups
Guardians Starting Lineup
LF S. Kwan L
SS A. Rosario R
3B J. Ramirez S
1B J. Naylor L
DH J. Bell S
2B A. Gimenez L
C M. Zunino R
RF W. Brennan L
CF M. Straw R
Red Sox Starting Lineup
RF A. Verdugo L
LF M. Yoshida L
DH J. Turner R
3B R. Devers L
1B T. Casas L
CF J. Duran L
SS E. Hernandez R
C R. McGuire L
2B E. Valdez L