Bet on bats, get the upper hand (May 1)

Red Sox vs. Orioles odds

Red Sox Odds +105
Orioles Odds -125
More less 8.5
Weather 1:05 p.m. ET
TV MLB.TV
Odds via BetMGM. Keep up to date MLB odds here.

The Red Sox will be looking to secure another crucial Orioles victory on Sunday, as the American League East gap between Boston and the Rays, Blue Jays and Yankees has already started to widen.

Boston will send 29-year-old right-hander Nick Pivetta to the mound in hopes he can sort out terrible early-season form and get back to what we saw in a strong 2021 campaign.

Baltimore will look to Jordan Lyles, who started the year well below average.

We’ve seen far fewer goals scored this season at Camden Yards, but could that change with Sunday’s Medium Gun game?

Boston Red Sox: Are the Bats on the brink of resurgence?

The Red Sox roster still has key elements from last year’s batting order, which had the third-best OPS (.777) and fifth-most runs in baseball.

Boston’s slow start was surprising as most expected him to strike effectively once again. The Red Sox have managed just 3.57 points per game and own the fifth-worst OPS (.615) in baseball.

As you’d expect, some underlying numbers suggest better results are ahead. The Red Sox have the 21st-lowest BABIP in the league at .275, but have the 11th-highest hit rate in the league at 40.5%.

The Red Sox hit right-handers very effectively last season, posting a 109 wRC+ and a .336 wOBA (third in baseball). They have struggled against righties this year, but I believe we can safely assume that they will increase in the future.

That could be important going into Sunday’s contest with Nick Pivetta on the mound. Pivetta has struggled through 16 innings pitched this season and has a 9.06 xERA.

Pivetta walked 16.7% of batters faced, while being hard hit 51% of the time. His .679 XSLG puts him in the bottom 3% of pitchers in the league.

If there’s one defense of Pivetta’s abysmal numbers, it would be considering he’s faced the Blue Jays twice, the Yankees and the Twins.

Baltimore Orioles: The offense will have to support Lyles

Baltimore, as you’d expect, started the 2022 campaign with relatively average numbers on the plate. He holds the 21st best wRC+ rating (90) against right-handed thrower and a WOBA of .290.

The Orioles hold the 13th-best hard-hit rate at 39.7% and an XBA midfielder of .250. Baltimore will have a great opportunity to find more blows Sunday against Pivetta, which has been crushed so far this season.

Strong offensive production could be crucial for the O’s as Jordan Lyles takes the mound against a powerful Red Sox order.

Lyles has pitched at an xERA above 5.37 in each of the last three seasons and is currently at a 5.51 mark with 19.3 innings pitched this year.

As of the start of 2020, Lyles 5.59 ERA is the 12th-worst league among starters with at least 119 total innings. Lyles has hit a hard hit 43.3% and an XSLG of 0.529 this year and it doesn’t look like improvement is likely.

The American League East rosters crushed Lyles even worse. He’s held a 6.35 ERA inside the division since 2020, with opponents hitting .294 on him.

Red Sox and Orioles picks

With the talent of this Red Sox roster, it’s no surprise that the underlying numbers suggest more offensive success is to come.

Boston is getting a good game here against Lyles and I think we’ll see the Red Sox find some of the positive regression they’re due and put on a strong showing.

However, Pivetta struggled and this lowly Baltimore command should still muster a few runs out of it.

It’s easy to see both offenses having a good day at the plate in this contest. I believe a total of 8 at -110 is still half of what we should see.

I’d rather get this out early and try to get what I think is a good number at 8 not 8.5 and then confirm rosters closer to the game. Even if a few big chunks, like Rafael Devers, rest, we probably won’t see a worse number.

To take: Over 8 -110 (Play 8 to -125)

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