The Boston Red Sox (70-66) look to hold on to their faint AL Wild Card hopes as they take on the Kansas City Royals (42-95) in the final game of a three-game series on Sunday, September 3. First pitch is scheduled for 2:10 p.m. ET from Kauffman Stadium. Chris Sale (5-3, 4.75) will take the mound for the Red Sox, while Taylor Clarke (2-4, 5.44) will serve as the opener for the Royals before giving way to veteran Zack Greinke.
Boston enters as -205 moneyline favorites at DraftKings Sportsbook, with Kansas City coming in at +170. The run total is set at 9.5.
Red Sox-Royals picks: Sunday, September 3
Out: RP Brennan Bernardino (health & safety), OF Jarren Duran (left toe contusion), INF Pablo Reyes (left elbow inflammation), SP/RP Corey Kluber (right shoulder inflammation), RP Zack Kelly (right elbow surgery)
Day-to-day: C Salvador Perez (upper back/neck tightness)
Out: 1B Nick Pratto (left groin strain), SP Daniel Lynch IV (left shoulder strain), RP John McMillon (right forearm strain)
Chris Sale vs. Taylor Clarke
Sale was out of commission for 10 weeks with a shoulder injury, and has been somewhat shaky since coming back. In his most recent start, he allowed seven hits and three earned runs in 7.2 innings against the Astros. Before that, he let up four earned runs in five innings. However, his strikeout numbers have looked solid as of late.
Clarke has started just a single game this season and has been primarily used as a reliever. He has never lasted on the mound for longer than two innings, so we can expect this to be a bullpen game for the Royals — led by Greinke, with a 5.28 ERA on the season, and a whopping .326/.357/.576 slash line allowed to left-handed hitters. He has allowed just two runs over 8.2 innings across his last two starts, though.
The totals of the first two games were 15 and 14, and I’m going to stick with this trend. Sale has been letting up a fair amount of runs in his starts, and the Royals have already had one big-hitting game in this series (13-run outburst on Friday). The Red Sox’s batting lineup looked good yesterday and should be able to cut through this sketchy K.C. pitching staff fairly easily.
Pick: Over 9.5
The Red Sox got back on track with a 9-5 win yesterday after dropping five straight games, including a 13-2 loss to the Royals to start the series. The Sox should be able to take the final game of the series. Sale hasn’t been outstanding, but he hasn’t been a disaster, either. If he can keep his strikeout numbers up, the Red Sox should be able to get plenty of run support against this struggling Royals bullpen.
Pick: Red Sox -205