After busting out the bats for their sixth win in a row on Friday night, the red-hot Boston Red Sox will look to kick off their second half with a series win against the Chicago Cubs in a Saturday matinee. First pitch from Wrigley Field is set for 2:20 p.m. ET. James Paxton (5-1, 2.73 ERA) will get the ball for Boston, while Marcus Stroman (9-6, 2.96) will look to get back on track for Chicago.
This one is a pick ‘em on the moneyline at DraftKings Sportsbook, with both teams checking in at -110. The run total is set at 8.
Red Sox-Cubs picks: Saturday, July 15th
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)
James Paxton vs. Marcus Stroman
Paxton saw his career derailed by a constant stream of injuries over the past few years, but he’s been everything Boston could’ve hoped for since coming off the IL in early May. The lefty has put up six quality starts in his 10 outings so far, showcasing an elite high-90s fastball along with a wipeout cutter. When the heater is sitting 96-97 and he’s locating his secondary stuff, batters haven’t been able to catch up so far. He held the Oakland Athletics to two runs over six innings in his last start, and he’s allowed more than two runs just twice all year.
Stroman’s fallen back to Earth hard after a dream start to 2023. The righty allowed more than two runs just twice all season prior to June 25. Since that date, he’s given up more than two runs in all three starts, allowing 15 runs (12 earned) on 17 hits and seven walks across just 14 innings over that span. He’s been battling a blister issue, and there’s definitely been some bad BABIP luck involved, but Stroman’s typically impeccable command of his sinker and slider haven’t quite been there of late.
Boston boasts the single best offense in the game since the start of July, and with the way Stroman’s been throwing of late, I don’t have a lot of confidence in his ability to keep the Red Sox off the board — especially if Rafael Devers is heating up after a homer last night. Paxton should pitch well — the Cubs have been a bottom-five offense this month, and they especially struggle against lefties — but this number is a bit too low to back the under with how well Boston’s hitting.
Pick: Over 8
The Red Sox have the advantage on the mound and at the plate right now, and while Stroman is better than he’s been lately (and Paxton is probably a little worse), there’s simply no way you can afford to not ride with this Boston lineup with even odds.
Pick: Red Sox