Baltimore (79-65) at Boston (81-63)
When: Wednesday, September 14th 2016
Where: Fenway Park, Boston, MA
Time: 7:10 ET | TV: ESPN
The Baltimore Orioles used a five-run second inning on Tuesday to even their three-game series with the Boston Red Sox and will look to keep their hold on one of the two AL Wild Card spots on Wednesday. Boston slugged three home runs in its 12-2, series-opening win on Monday and added another on Tuesday, but it was not enough to overcome Baltimore’s three. J.J. Hardy and Nolan Reimold homered in the big second inning and Jonathan Schoop added a blast in the ninth as Baltimore is now tied with Toronto for the two WC spots – 2 games clear of the Yankees and Tigers. The Red Sox still hold a two game lead over both the O’s and Jays, but are now down to just eight home games remaining. The Orioles return home for 11 straight after finishing up in Boston and will host losing teams Tampa Bay and Arizona on the homestand in addition to four games against the Red Sox. Red Sox 2B Dustin Pedroia has recorded multiple hits in 14 of the last 17 games and is a sizzling 21-for-31 in his last seven home games.
Pitchers: Orioles – Kevin Gausman (7-10, 3.61 ERA) | Red Sox – Rick Porcello (20-3, 3.21)
Kevin Gausman has been on a bit of a roll lately posting a 4-0 record in his last five starts. He had a string of three straight scoreless starts before Friday when the Tigers hit him for three runs and seven hits of a no-decision. Gausman was hit hard by the Red Sox in the first half of the season, allowing five runs in six innings at home on May 31st and pitching only three innings while getting rocked for six runs in a loss at Fenway Park on June 15th.
Porcello became the first pitcher this season and the first Red Sox pitcher since Josh Beckett in 2007 to reach 20 wins when he beat Toronto on Friday. He held the Blue Jays to two runs over seven innings to make it the ninth consecutive start in which he went at least seven innings and allowed three or fewer earned runs. Porcello, who is 13-0 at Fenway Park this season, struggled at Baltimore on June 2nd and was charged with five runs on six hits – three home runs – over six innings in a no decision.
Right now, I can’t go against Porcello. With his dominant pitching and the Red Sox bats, they are very hard to beat. Gausman’s roll is over after Friday’s outing and I think he gets hit again tonight. I’ll take the runline in this one.
Pick: Red Sox -1.5 +130