The second half of the 2023 MLB season begins tonight and the Boston Red Sox will return to action to kick off a weekend series against the Chicago Cubs. First pitch is scheduled for 8:05 p.m. ET at Wrigley Field in Chicago. Brayan Bello (6-5, 3.04 ERA) will get the nod for the Sox while Kyle Hendricks (3-3, 3.04 ERA) will step on the hill for the Cubbies.
Boston enters the game as a -135 favorite on the moneyline over at DraftKings Sportsbook, while Chicago is a +115 underdog. The run total is set at 9.
Red Sox-Cubs picks: Friday, July 14
Out: 2B Pablo Reyes (abdomen), RP John Schreiber (shoulder), SS Adalberto Mondesi (knee), RP Richard Bleier (shoulder),
Out: SS Dansby Swanson (heel), 3B Nick Madrigal (hamstring), RP Brad Boxberger (forearm)
Brayan Bello vs. Kyle Hendricks
Bello really started to find his footing before the All-Star break, posting six straight quality starts for the Red Sox. He was able to pick up the win against the Rangers last Wednesday, going seven full innings and yielding just two earned runs in the victory. Road environments haven’t really phased him so far this year as he’s posted a 2-1 record with a 2.87 ERA away from Fenway Park.
Hendricks was also a steady hand right before the break as the Cubs have come out triumphant in five of his last six starts. That includes his most erratic start of the season this past Sunday, where Chicago defeated the Yankees despite the veteran righty yielding 10 hits and four earned runs in 5.2 innings. The only batters in the lineup that he’s been especially vulnerable against are cleanup hitters, who are batting .391 against him this season. That means he’ll have to be especially careful when facing either Rafael Devers or Adam Duvall in the No. 4 spot tonight.
This is a matchup of two over-friendly teams and coming out of the All-Star break, I expect both lineups to come out swinging in this series opener. Take the over.
Pick: Over 9
This game will come down to which starter can maintain and hold the line the longest and I’ll lean towards Bello and the Red Sox here. Boston rattled off five straight victories before the break and I can easily see that hot offense carrying that momentum into tonight’s series opener.
Pick: Red Sox