The Boston Red Sox take on the Houston Astros in the first game of a crucial four-game series on Monday, August 21. First pitch is scheduled for 8:05 p.m. ET from Minute Maid Park. Lefty James Paxton (7-3, 3.34 ERA) will take the mound for the Red Sox, while Cristian Javier (8-2, 4.49 ERA) looks to get back on track for the Astros.
Houston enters as -130 moneyline favorites at DraftKings Sportsbook, with Boston coming in at +110. The total is set at 9.
Red Sox-Astros picks: Monday, August 21
Out: RP Phil Maton (elbow), 1B Jose Abreu (spine), OF/DH Michael Brantley (shoulder)
James Paxton vs. Cristian Javier
Paxton has looked solid this month. In 11.1 innings pitched over his last two starts, he has allowed two earned runs and recorded nine strikeouts. He struggled against the Blue Jays at the start of August, though, letting up four earned runs in five innings.
Javier has continued to struggle a bit this August. In his latest outing, he let up five runs — four of them earned — in 4.2 innings against the Marlins, recording just two strikeouts. In his latest home start, he let up three earned runs in six innings against the Rays, striking out nine batters.
Both teams rank in the top 10 in runs per game, and neither pitcher is doing well enough right now to bet on them being able to stop that trend from continuing. The over is the only choice here.
Pick: Over 9
The Astros got swept by the Mariners in their latest series, and the Red Sox swept the Yankees on the road. The Sox have looked excellent in recent weeks, and while this will be a challenging road stop, I like Boston here. Javier has not been particularly consistent for the Astros this season, and Paxton should be able to keep things under control.
Pick: Red Sox +110