Boston at Baltimore Pro Baseball Betting Preview & Prediction

Posted by Kenny Bell on Thursday,April 20, 2017 10:31, EDT in

The AL East race looks like it could be interesting all season between the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles — no, I don’t think the Yankees will be in it. Boston makes its first visit of the season to Camden Yards on Friday to open a three-game series. The Sox should be slight baseball betting favorites.

Boston at Baltimore Pro Baseball Betting Preview & Prediction

When: Friday, April 21, 7:05 PM ET
Where: Camden Yards, Baltimore
Probable pitchers (away/home): Drew Pomeranz/Alec Asher
TV: MLB Extra Innings
Stream: MLB.tv
RadioBoston / Baltimore
Opening MLB Lines: Red Sox favored by TBA

Why Bet On Boston?

Red Sox manager John Farrell said David Price (elbow) will not face live hitters early this week. There hasn’t been a setback, but the Red Sox don’t want to push Price too hard in his rehab and will instead ask him to continue playing long toss and throwing bullpen sessions. There are still a number of hurdles to clear before a realistic timetable can be mapped out for the high-priced left-hander. He’s been working through elbow discomfort since the first week of March.

The Sox and Orioles split a week ago at Fenway Park. Boston’s win was 8-1. The starting pitcher in that was Drew Pomeranz (1-0, 5.23), and he goes here. Pomeranz struck out six and allowed just one run in six innings vs. the Orioles.

“I felt like I waited forever to get that first start in,” said Pomeranz, who opened the season on the DL with a strained left forearm. “Things clicked in warmups and I just felt really good out there. I took that to the mound and just tried to hold out there for as long as I could.”

Pomeranz exceeded all expectations with the way he threw and how long he stayed out there for the Red Sox. He had a shutout going through six innings and held the Orioles to four hits before getting pulled in the seventh with Boston hanging on to a 2-1 lead. Dustin Pedroia drove in four runs, including two on a bases-loaded single in the seventh, and Christian Vazquez capped off a 4-for- 4 game with a two-run triple in the eighth.

Baltimore’s Welington Castillo is 3-for- 6 career off him with a homer. Chris Davis is 1-for- 6 with four strikeouts. JJ Hardy is 1-for- 4 with a homer. The Sox catch a break here in that they don’t have to face Orioles All-Star close Zach Britton, who is on the DL.

Why Bet On Orioles?

The Birds are hoping to get back outfielder Joey Rickard soon. Rickard (finger) plans on taking swings in the batting cage over the next few days. Rickard is rehabbing from a sprained left middle finger suffered during the first week of the season. He was able to grip a bat for the first time on Tuesday and will test out the strength in his sprained digit via his upcoming swings in the cage. He will likely need at least another week before he is ready to return.

Outfielder Seth Smith left Tuesday’s game against the Reds with a right hamstring strain. That could mean a trip to the new 10-day disabled list. Smith was 0-for- 1 with a walk and a run scored before getting replaced in the sixth inning by Trey Mancini. The 34-year- old outfielder also dealt with hamstring problems this spring but was off to a good start offensively for the O’s.

Brad Brach said he was told by Orioles manager Buck Showalter that he will share closer duties with Darren O’Day while Zach Britton (forearm) is sidelined. Britton landed on the disabled list last Sunday with a left forearm strain, though it’s considered to be on the mild side. Brach has been dominant this season to the tune of a 0.00 ERA and 10 strikeouts in six innings.

The Orioles go with right-hander Alec Asher (0-0, 1.42), who was acquired late in spring training from Philadelphia. Asher pitched well in his season debut in Toronto, allowing one run and three hits over 6.1 innings. The 26-year- old Asher was 2-7 with a 5.88 ERA in 12 big league starts for the Phillies in 2015 and 2016. He served an 80-game suspension for steroid use last season, when he went 2-1 with a 2.88 ERA in five starts.

Expert Prediction: Red Sox

It’s not likely that Asher has as much success against a much better Boston lineup as he did vs. the Jays.