The Boston Red Sox will head west to open the week with a three-game series against the Oakland Athletics tonight. First pitch is scheduled for 9:40 p.m. ET at the Oakland Coliseum in Oakland. Reliever Brennan Bernardino (1-0, 2.43 ERA) will start in what figures to be a bullpen game for the Sox while Paul Blackburn (1-1, 4.86 ERA) will get the nod for the A’s.
Boston enters as a -170 favorite on the moneyline over at DraftKings Sportsbook, with Oakland a +145 underdog. The run total is set at 8.5.
Red Sox-Athletics picks: Monday, July 17
Out: SP Chris Sale (shoulder), SP Corey Kluber (shoulder), 2B Pablo Reyes (abdomen), RP John Schreiber (shoulder), SS Adalberto Mondesi (knee), RP Richard Bleier (shoulder)
Out: OF Esteury Ruiz (shoulder), C Carlos Perez (thumb), OF Ramon Laureano (hand), SP Mason Miller (elbow), SP James Kaprielian (shoulder), RP Zach Jackson (elbow),
Brennan Bernardino vs. Paul Blackburn
Bernardino will serve as the opener for the Red Sox tonight, meaning that it will most likely be a bullpen night for Boston — with either Nick Pivetta or Chris Murphy eating up the middle innings. The 31-year-old lefty has mostly come out of the ‘pen in relief this season, making two starts prior to this evening’s contest. For however long he’s on the hill, he’ll have to to not allow first pitch base hits. Opposing batters are hitting .444 against him when the count is 0-0.
Blackburn is stepping on the mound for the first time post All-Star break and is trying to build some momentum for the second half of the season. He was last in action against this very Red Sox team last Sunday, where he gave up two sixth-inning runs in relief and was eventually tagged with a blown save in a 4-3 loss. Blackburn also needs to do a better job in early counts as opposing batters are hitting .333 against him when the count is 0-0 and .444 on 0-1.
Boston is 50-44 in O/U this season and were hot at the plate against the Cubs over the weekend. The Sox could potentially tip the over by themselves tonight, especially when facing an A’s bullpen that is sporting a league-worst 5.79 ERA
Pick: Over 8.5
Boston has been hot in the month of July and have joined the rest of their AL East rivals in the 50-win club. Even with them most likely cycling through a handful of arms tonight, they should be able to easily carry that momentum into this series opener. Especially against an A’s club that already has 70 losses.
Pick: Red Sox