The Rangers and Red Sox have been going through a bit of a mediocre stretch heading into the All-Star break, as they are 4-6 over their last ten games. The winner of tonight’s rubber game, though, will head into the final series of the first half with a bit more momentum. We’ll preview the final game of this three-game set before going over which side I’ll be backing.
Don’t look now, but the Red Sox may have developed one of their best-starting pitchers in years in Brayan Bello. After throwing seven innings last night and allowing just two earned runs to a talented Rangers lineup, the 24-year-old right-hander lowered his ERA to 3.04 on the season. All Bello needed in run support was two RBI singles from Justin Turner and one from Adam Duvall to propel his team to a 4-2 victory.
With the chance to win back-to-back series, the Red Sox will send Kutter Crawford to the mound tonight to make his 8th start. The right-hander picked up his second win of the year in his last outing by throwing 5.2 innings against the Blue Jays with five strikeouts and two earned runs allowed. Following that outing, Crawford’s FIP is sitting at 4.32 across 51.7 innings.
The Rangers lineup that Crawford will face tonight still had nine hits in last night’s loss despite only scoring two runs. Texas has made it abundantly clear to the rest of the league they have some of the most power in their lineup from top to bottom, so even when playing below .500 over the past ten games, they are still not an easy lineup to manage. Adolis Garcia is an excellent example of the sheer power the lineup possesses since he left the yard last for the 22nd time this season.
Texas will have a starter on the mound tonight who is very familiar with Fenway Park, Nathan Eovaldi. Before joining the Rangers, Eovaldi spent five seasons with Boston, and despite being solid for them, he is having a career year so far in Texas. The right-hander is coming off his 9th win of the season in which he threw seven scoreless and lowered his ERA down to 2.82.
As we head into tonight’s rubber match, the Texas Rangers can be found at (-137) on the moneyline, and I’ll be backing them for my play. There is no denying that Boston is a better-hitting team when playing at home, but the Rangers have been a solid-hitting team in any location this season. Aside from hitting, Texas also holds the advantage in terms of pitching.
Boston’s starter Kutter Crawford comes into tonight with a 5.40 ERA and 4.42 xFIP at home this season. Those numbers don’t leave a lot of confidence that he can shut down a Rangers lineup that is hitting .252 with a .745 OPS against right-handed pitching on the road over the last month. Not to mention, the Rangers also rank 12th in wRC+ and 10th in BAbip in this spot.
As for Nathan Eovaldi, his numbers show he can match up with the Red Sox lineup, as he is boasting a 2.44 ERA and 2.91 FIP on the road this season to go along with a batting average against of .218. Those numbers, mixed with the fact that the Rangers bullpen (4.18) has a better FIP than the Red Sox bullpen (4.56) over the last month, have me backing Texas to come out with the series win.
Texas Rangers (-137) (Play to -140)