The Texas Rangers meet the Boston Red Sox for a three-game set at Wrigley Field that will close down their regular-season series, so here’s the best betting pick for the opening contest Friday, August 20, 2021, with the first pitch at 7:10 PM ET.
Back in May, the Rangers beat the Sawx in a four-game set at Globe Life Field in Arlington, 3-1. Texas is a massive +279 out-of-towner for Friday’s contest in Boston, while the Red Sox sit at -315 moneyline odds with a total of 9.0 runs on Bovada Sportsbook.
The Rangers are struggling mightily in August
Well, it’s not like they’ve played well through the first half of the season, but the Texas Rangers have been an absolute disaster since the All-Star break. They are 8-22 over the last 30 games overall, and the Rangers have scored only 46 runs over their previous 16 outings while compiling an awful .208/.244/.342 batting line.
Dane Dunning will take the mound Friday against the Sawx, and he’s done a superb job for the Rangers over the last few weeks. The 26-year-old righty is 5-7 with a 4.06 ERA and 1.38 WHIP in 21 starts this season, but in his previous seven outings, Dunning has registered a sharp 2.86 ERA and a .211 batting average against across 34.2 innings of work.
Last time out, Dane has allowed a couple of earned runs through 4.2 frames, taking a no-decision in an 8-6 home victory over the Oakland Athletics. He’s never met the Red Sox before.
The Red Sox look to get back on the right track
The Boston Red Sox just got swept by the New York Yankees, suffering a 5-2 defeat in the closing contest of a three-game series at Yankee Stadium. The Sawx are now 69-54 on the season, sitting at the third spot of the AL East, one game behind the Yanks and six and a half behind the Tampa Bay Rays.
Boston is 6-11 in August, posting a disappointing 4.99 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, and a .261 batting average against. The Red Sox have scored 83 runs on a nice .276/.349/.457 batting line in that 17-game span, but they have to improve on the mound in order to stay alive in the playoff race.
Chris Sale will make his second start of the season on Friday. The 32-year-old southpaw was sidelined for two years due to an elbow injury, and he pitched well last Saturday, taking a win in a 16-2 thrashing of the Baltimore Orioles. Sale fanned eight across five innings and yielded a couple of earned runs (two solo homers) on six hits.
- 3-11 in the last 14 games overall
- 1-14 in the last 15 games on the road
- 11-6 in the last 17 games against Texas
Texas Rangers vs. Boston Red Sox Pick
The Red Sox shouldn’t have any problems beating the Rangers by two or more runs. Chris Sale will torture Texas’ offense that has been terrible as of late, and the bettors shouldn’t be concerned about the hosts’ bullpen.
On the other side, Dane Dunning will have a proper test in this one. Despite his recent form, Dunning cannot be trusted when he squares off against the Red Sox, who own the seventh-highest scoring offense in baseball (4.97 runs per game).
Pick: Take Boston Red Sox -1.5 at -150
Texas has registered a 4.43 ERA and a .260 batting average against so far this month. The Rangers gave up nine runs to the Seattle Mariners on Thursday afternoon, so I’m expecting the Red Sox to score a lot in Friday’s opener.
However, it doesn’t mean the over is the best wager, as the hapless Rangers could struggle mightily to hit well against Chris Sale and the Red Sox bullpen. I would stick with the hosts to cover, as they desperately need a win. Boston was half a game behind the bottom wild card in the American League on Thursday.
Pick: Go over 9.0 runs at -120