The Boston Red Sox are fresh off of a sweep of the New York Yankees, and they’re just three games out of the final wild card spot in the American League ahead of Monday’s matchup with the Houston Astros.
Houston has lost three straight games, and the team is in danger of falling behind the Seattle Mariners (0.5 games back) in the wild card race.
Cristian Javier (8-2, 4.49 ERA) gets the ball for Houston in this game against Red Sox lefty James Paxton (7-3, 3.34 ERA).
Houston’s offense is top five in the league in OPS against left-handed pitching, but Paxton has impressed for Boston this season, allowing three or fewer runs in 13 of his 16 starts.
This is a crucial game for Boston’s wild card chances, so how should we bet on it?
First, let’s examine the latest odds:
Red Sox vs. Astros odds, run line and total
Red Sox vs. Astros prediction and pick
This is a tough matchup for Paxton considering how well the Astros have hit lefties, but I still think he has the edge in this pitching matchup.
Javier is not having as much success as he did in 2022, ranking in just the 38th percentile in strikeout percentage this season. That is a major drop off from 2022 when he was in the 94th (!!) percentile in that same stat.
So, what has it led to?
A lot more teams are hitting Javier, he’s just in the 17th percentile in the league in barrel percentage this season. Since the start of June, the Astros righty has a 6.14 ERA, 5.53 FIP and the team is just 7-5 in his 12 starts.
Boston should be able to jump all over Javier, who has allowed multiple runs in nine consecutive starts.
Paxton, on the other hand, has a 3.31 ERA this month and has struck out 93 batters in 86.1 innings in 2023.
I don’t know if he shuts down this Houston offense, but I think he’ll have plenty of run support to fall back on.
Until Javier shows signs of returning to his 2022 form, I’ll fade him when he’s a favorite.
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.
Find Peter Dewey's betting record here.