After rallying for a crucial win on Saturday afternoon, the Boston Red Sox (69-61) look to make it two in a row in the rubber game of their weekend set against the Los Angeles (79-49) at Fenway Park. First pitch of Sunday’s finale is set for 1:35 p.m. ET. Reliever Caleb Ferguson (7-3, 2.81 ERA) will serve as the opener for L.A., while Boston counters with righty Tanner Houck (3-7, 5.08).
Dodgers-Red Sox picks: Sunday, August 27
Out: SP Tony Gonsolin (right forearm inflammation), DH J.D. Martinez (groin tightness), RP Joe Kelly (right forearm inflammation), RP Yency Almonte (right knee sprain), SP Michael Grove (right lat tightness), RP Blake Treninen (right shoulder), SP Walker Buehler (Tommy John surgery)
Day-to-day: RP Kenley Jansen (right hamstring tightness)
Out: OF Jarren Duran (left toe contusion), SP Corey Kluber (right shoulder inflammation)
Caleb Ferguson vs. Tanner Houck
This will be Ferguson’s third start in his last four appearances, going an inning at most before turning things over to the rest of the Dodgers staff. It seems likely that rookie Gavin Stone will get the call from Triple-A to handle the bulk innings for Dave Roberts’ team; Stone has long been one of Los Angeles’ top pitching prospects, but he hasn’t pitched like it in the Majors this year, with an ugly 14.40 ERA over three starts back in May.
Houck finally returned to the rotation earlier this week against the Astros, allowing three runs on four hits and three walks in five innings. The righty was playing his best ball of the year when he was struck in the head by a line drive back in June, with just three runs allowed over 10 innings across his two most recent starts, but he’d struggled for consistency prior to that point. Houck’s slider is a legit weapon, with a 38.1% whiff rate and .202 BA against, but he’s yet to find an effective weapon for dealing with lefties and could have trouble with Freddie Freeman and Co.
We’ve seen totals of 11 and 13 runs in the first two games of this series, and with two hot offenses facing two sketchy pitchers, I’m banking on another double-digit affair at Fenway Park this afternoon. Ferguson has a 4.70 ERA this month, and Stone hasn’t yet proven that he has the ability to get through a big-league lineup multiple times. With Houck still knocking the rust off after a lengthy absence, we should be in for a slugfest in this spot.
Pick: Over 10
Houck doesn’t inspire a ton of confidence, but he’s definitely the more reliable option than Stone — who’s gotten lit up every time he’s pitched more than a couple innings as a Major Leaguer. This Boston offense is as hot as anyone, so I’ll take them as slight underdogs.
Pick: Red Sox -102