Game time: 7:10 p.m. ET
Venue: Fenway Park, Boston, MA
How to watch: MASN, NESN
Orioles: 38-76 (Last place, AL East)
Red Sox: 67-51 (2nd place, AL East)
Cedric Mullins (L) CF
Austin Hays (R) LF
Trey Mancini (R) 1B
Anthony Santander (S) DH
DJ Stewart (L) RF
Maikel Franco (R) 3B
Jorge Mateo (R) 2B
Austin Wynns (R) C
Richie Martin (R) SS
Enrique Hernandez (R) 2B
Jarren Duran (L) CF
Xander Bogaerts (R) SS
Rafael Devers (L) 3B
J.D. Martinez (R) DH
Hunter Renfroe (R) RF
Kevin Plawecki (R) C
Marwin Gonzalez (S) 1B
Franchy Cordero (L) LF
Probable starting pitchers: Jorge Lopez (BAL) vs Chris Sale (BOS)
Odds at USA Sportsbooks
DraftKings: Red Sox -265, Orioles +215
BetMGM: Red Sox -275, Orioles +220
FanDuel: Red Sox -295, Orioles +240
Orioles: Lost nine straight
Red Sox: 2-3 in last five
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Orioles - Red Sox preview
The Boston Red Sox just needed an inferior opponent in order to get things back on track. Reinforcements also help.
Not only did Kyle Schwarber make his Boston debut weeks after being traded from the Washington Nationals, but Chris Sale is soon on the horizon.
Schwarber went hitless in his Boston debut against the Baltimore Orioles, but drew two walks for the Red Sox to win 8-1 in the first game of the three-game series at Fenway Park on Friday.
Now, on Saturday, it will be Sale returning to the Boston rotation after missing the past 15 months due to undergoing Tommy John surgery last March.
The seven-time All-Star and World Series champion with the 2018 Red Sox will return to a rotation that desperately needs an arm behind Nathan Eovaldi. Sale is 35-23 with the Red Sox since signing with them in 2016; he went 12-4 with a 2.11 ERA the year Boston won the World Series, but only played in two games that postseason.
Alas, if the Red Sox could get a fraction of that from their ace when he’s on the mound, it could be a gamechanger for Boston as it looks to keep distance from the New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays, while trying to catch the Tampa Bay Rays for first place.
"We've been talking about this for a while, and now it's right here right in front of us,” said manager Alex Cora about the season debuts of his stars. “But at the end of the day, it really doesn't matter. We have to perform. There's a lot of guys in that clubhouse that have struggled the last few weeks, either offensively or defensively, pitching-wise. For us to be a good team, we have to play clean baseball. We have to be better.”
Therein lies the problem with Boston; the Red Sox have not been good as of late. They slipped to let Toronto’s charge nearly knock them out of the playoff race, and the Yankees having re-tooled with Joey Gallo and Anthony Rizzo have given the Bronx Bombers enough ammo to also surpass Boston.
But if there’s an opponent that can give Boston that needed push, it’s the lowly Orioles. Outside of the All-Star production from Cedric Mullins and the power from Trey Mancini, it’s been a drag at Oriole Park in Camden Yards this year. Baltimore, having lost nine in a row, is coming off back-to-back home three-game sweeps at the hands of the Rays and the Detroit Tigers.
Mullins leads the Orioles with 22 home runs and a .322 batting average that would’ve been an endearing addition for any team at the trade deadline.
Maybe Boston could’ve used him to pick up that offense.
It hasn’t happened often that the Red Sox are a whopping favorite, but they’ve done the job right when they have. The Red Sox are 2-0 when a favorite of -200 or higher, and 37-29 when a favorite at all this season. The under is 37-27 in that stretch.
The Orioles are a measly 8-22 when the money line is +175 to +250. When we say they’ve been that bad, they’ve been that bad.
It all depends on how much Sale will pitch and if he can do it well. It’s easy to look at this game and see Baltimore might steal one against an ace who hasn’t seen the mound in almost two years. But Baltimore has been that bad to say that Sale will be fine. Red Sox win, over cashes.
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