The Boston Red Sox (62-56) open a pivotal series against the Washington Nationals (53-66) on Tuesday, as Boston enters three games out of the third and final AL Wild Card spot. They’ll send Nick Pivetta (8-6, 4.16 ERA) to the mound against Nationals All-Star Josiah Gray (7-9, 3.69). First pitch from D.C. is set for 7:05 p.m. ET.
The Red Sox are -175 moneyline favorites at DraftKings Sportsbook, while Washington is the +145 underdogs. The total is set at 9.
Red Sox-Nationals picks: Tuesday, August 15th
Out: RP Tanner Houck (facial fracture), RP Joely Rodríguez (right hip), SP Corey Kluber (right shoulder inflammation)
Out: RP Hunter Harvey (right elbow strain), RP Mason Thompson (left knee contusion), RP Carl Edwards Jr. (right shoulder inflammation), RP Thaddeus Ward (right shoulder inflammation)
Nick Pivetta vs. Josiah Gray
Pivetta has a 2.40 ERA in 45 innings out of the bullpen this season (mostly in a bulk role) but has made starts in two of his last three appearances. The righty allowed two runs in five innings in his last outing against the Royals, and tossed a season-high 7.1 innings while striking out 10 against the Mariners in his start prior. He’s struggled immensely against the Nationals in his career, as he boasts a 9.54 ERA in 38.2 innings against Washington.
Gray had one of his best starts of a largely encouraging season against the Mets (6 IP, 0 ER) on July 27, but has struggled since, as he allowed five runs in 3.2 innings against the Brewers on Aug. 1 and allowed four runs in 4.2 innings against the Phillies his last time out. He ranks in the 78th percentile in exit velocity and the 72nd percentile in hard-hit rate.
This over has hit in four of Gray’s last six starts (with one of the misses being a push) while the Nationals cleared it in two of their last three games. While the Red Sox offense hasn’t been able to pile up runs in bunches as of late, they’re a veteran group in the midst of a postseason run and get a solid matchup against Gray.
Pick: Over 9
I like the Nationals to pull off the upset. As mentioned above, Washington picked up two solid wins over the lowly A’s over the weekend and are going against a pitcher who has an ERA over nine against the team in his career.