The Boston Red Sox have been a surprise team in the American League holding down first place in the AL East for much of the first two months of the season. They will attempt to snap a two-game losing streak when they meet the Houston Astros in Game 3 of their four-game set on Wednesday.
Boston opened the series and a seven-game road trip with their worst setback of the season, 11-2, on Monday and has dropped four of seven entering the matchup. Scheduled starter Nick Pivetta is unbeaten since joining the Red Sox last season and goes for his seventh win of the campaign. Houston’s rotation got a lift with the return of Framber Valdez, who makes just his second start of the year after returning from injury.
The battle between AL heavyweights takes place on Wednesday, June 2, 2021 at 8 p.m. ET from Minute Maid Park in Houston, TX. The game will air live on ESPN.
Boston Red Sox vs Houston Astros Odds
Money Line: Red Sox +115 | Astros -135
Run Line: Red Sox +1.5 -155 | Astros -1.5 +135
Season So Far
Jostling with Tampa Bay and the Yankees in the tough AL East, the Red Sox have held their own so far. The return of Alex Cora to the bench has lifted the team, though his return to Houston hasn’t been a happy reunion. The Sox dropped the first two games of the series getting outscored 16-3. When the offense falters the Sox usually do the same. They rank third in MLB in runs with over five per game and in hitting with a .259 team average.
Pitching has been another story, though. The staff struggled last season though improvements in that area have them at 32-22. They sit in the middle of the pack with a staff ERA hovering around 4.00. They’ve lost more than two consecutive games twice this season with those losing streaks ending at three games. They look to avoid matching their longest slide with slump-buster Nick Pivetta set to take the bump on Wednesday.
A current three-game winning streak has the Astros back atop the AL West. Taking the final two games of a three-game set with the Athletics a few weeks ago put them in front, but Houston lost four in a row and six of seven immediately following that series to fall off the pace. They had a tough time containing teams during that skid allowing seven or more runs four five times in seven games with the OVER at 5-2. They have allowed just seven runs total during their winning streak while scoring 23 times. The Astros boast the highest scoring team in the majors with 5.4 runs per game leading to the OVER going 13-3 in their past 16 games.
The Red Sox have the right guy on the hill to end their losing streak. Pivetta (6-0, 3.86 ERA) picked up his first win of the season in early April after the Sox lost their first three games of the season and he also helped the club end a pair of two-game skids. He’s perfect this season and the club is 9-1 in his 10 starts. He’s been the beneficiary of strong run support with the Sox scoring seven or more runs in six of his starts and three times reaching double figures.
It’s easy to pitch when your mates are scoring runs in bunches. Still, Pivetta has been solid. He hasn’t pitched more than six innings in any start and reached that number last time out allowing four runs and seven hits with a season-high nine strikeouts to beat the Braves. He yielded seven hits and four earned in each of his last two starts but the Sox plated 17 runs in those games. Over his last five starts his ERA is 4.82 yet Pivetta is 3-0 in that span.
Valdez (0-0, 2.25 ERA) was eased back into the rotation after missing the first two months of the campaign with a broken digit he suffered during spring training. He allowed one run on four hits in 4.0 innings to San Diego in a game the Astros eventually lost in extra innings. He threw just 72 pitches in that game and he’s expected to have a longer leash as long as he gets the job done. Valdez was a key part of the rotation last season going 5-3 with a 3.57 ERA over 70.2 innings in 11 games, 10 of which he started.
Part of his success has come from better command. Valdez walked 44 batters and surrendered nine homers across 70 innings during the 2019 campaign. He issued just 16 free passes and five homers last season.
Boston Red Sox vs Houston Astros Predictions
Our best bets: Boston Red Sox +115 and OVER 9
One thing about the Sox is that they’ve avoided lengthy losing streaks. They haven’t dropped more than three consecutive games all season. Pivetta ended a three-game slide at the beginning of the year and twice was on the hill when the club stopped a two-game skid. Can the magic continue on Wednesday? I’m betting it does and I can also see plenty of runs with two of the top offensive clubs in baseball going at it.
Check out today’s MLB odds.