The Boston Red Sox and Arizona Diamondbacks both enter Sunday’s series finale with winning records but have been off the pace in their respective division races and will look to heat up with a win in the desert.
Boston Red Sox vs. Arizona Diamondbacks (-110, 9)
Both offenses have been highly productive with the Red Sox entering the weekend ranked fourth in the league in runs per game while the Diamondbacks ranked sixth. However, there’s been a clear drop in Boston’s offensive output when playing on the road.
Their 6.0 runs per game when playing at home ranks as the second-most in the league while their 4.5 runs per game on the road ranks just 15th. Their on-base percentage ranks as the best when at home but just 23rd on the road.
The offense will look to lend plenty of support to starting pitcher Tanner Houck, who enters having allowed at least three runs in four of his last five starts with a 4.99 ERA and 3.1 walks per nine innings.
Houck must try to shut down an Arizona offense that is hitting .281 at home — good for the best mark among National League teams.
The lineup will look to stay hot in support of starting pitcher Merrill Kelly, who has a 2.98 overall ERA this season but has pitched his best recently — posting a 2.61 ERA in his last five starts with 1.8 walks per nine innings allowed compared to 5.8 walks per nine innings issued in his first five starts of the season. The Diamondbacks have been the beneficiaries of the increased command, winning four of his last five starts.
Both of these teams have bullpen issues and although the Red Sox have the better bullpen ERA for the season ranking 13th compared to the Diamondbacks who rank 21st, regression may be on the way for Boston as the bullpen’s expected fielding independent (xFIP) ranks just 25th while Arizona ranks 14th.
With Merrill Kelly regaining his command and a career 3.43 ERA at home compared to a 4.34 road ERA, the Diamondbacks will close out the series with a win.
The Play: Diamondbacks -110