The Atlanta Braves will look to hold onto their lead atop the NL East when they host the best team in baseball in the Boston Red Sox. The Red Sox took the first game of the series on Monday 8-2. Boston is now a -131 favorite to win Tuesday’s game.
The Braves finished off the month of August by going 2-5 over the final week. However, their recent slide has coincided with a similar skid by the Phillies, who are currently nursing a 3-game losing streak. That has Atlanta to maintain a lead of four games atop the NL East. The Braves also have a magic number of 22, just in case anyone is counting.
The Red Sox, meanwhile, appear to be heating up again after a modest stretch in August. Boston has won five of their last seven to stay 8.5 games ahead of the Yankees. The Red Sox are just five wins away from 100 and have a magic number of 16 to clinch the AL East.
All I Do is Win
Rick Porcello will get the start for the Red Sox on Tuesday. With an ERA of 4.27, Porcello isn’t quite at the Cy Young level he was a couple seasons ago. However, with plenty of run support, he’s done a great job of putting himself in a position to win games, going 15-7 in 28 starts this year.
That being said, Porcello has two losses and a no-decision in his last three starts. Over that span, he has allowed 12 runs over 17 innings, including an uninspired outing against the lowly White Sox in his last time out. This will also be his first time facing most of Atlanta’s young hitters, most notably Ozzie Albies and Ronald Acuna. Porcello has also struggled throughout his career against both Freddie Freeman and Nick Markakis. Oddly enough, those two are in a bit of a slump right now. But the rest of Atlanta’s lineup has been on fire over the past week.
The Braves will send Sean Newcomb to the mound on Tuesday night. Newcomb faced the Red Sox in late May, allowing three runs on six hits over three innings before getting pulled. In that game, 10 of the 19 batters Newcomb faced reach base.
Newcomb has also been a lot more erratic recently. He’s allowed at least five runs in three of his last four starts. However, he’s also allowed one run or less in four of his last seven starts, so he’s had a lot of peaks and valleys.
Naturally, he faces a difficult test against the Red Sox on Tuesday. Mookie Betts, Ian Kinsler, and even Jackie Bradley Jr. have been swinging a hot bat recently. Newcomb will catch a little bit of a break since the Red Sox won’t have use of a DH. However, the young lefty will be up against a dynamic lineup.
The Obvious Choice
There’s no need to overthink this one. Newcomb is capable of tossing a gem, but it’s unlikely it’ll happen against the Red Sox. Porcello should be able to do enough to hand a lead over to Boston’s bullpen, who should be able to take it the rest of the way. Bet on the Red Sox -131 beating the Braves on Tuesday.