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The MLB schedule on Friday features seven interleague games, including one between the Boston Red Sox and the Arizona Diamondbacks. The Red Sox are still far behind in the AL East race and desperate for a win after losing four in a row, including three straight losses to the Angels this week during their West Coast road trip. Meanwhile, the D’Backs continue to be one of the biggest surprises in baseball, currently sitting just 1.5 games behind the Dodgers at the top of the NL West standings.
A week ago, the Red Sox were among the hottest teams in baseball. Despite a few setbacks, Boston went 11-6 during the first part of May. However, the Red Sox lost their series finale to the Padres last weekend and then got swept by the Angels earlier this week. While they’ve managed to escape from the AL East basement for now, they are 10 games out in the division and desperate to get back on track before their losing streak continues.
On the other hand, the Diamondbacks have been one of the biggest surprises in baseball in 2023. Arizona currently has the third-most wins in the National League and sits just 1.5 games behind the Dodgers. They have gone 13-8 in the month of May thus far and have won four consecutive series, so they should feel good about themselves after spending the last week on the East Coast.
Despite being the better team on paper heading into Friday’s game, the Diamondbacks are home underdogs with a moneyline of +135 compared to Boston’s moneyline of -155. The over/under for the game is 9.5 runs with the over getting significantly more value from DraftKings.
The Diamondbacks will have their pitching depth tested on Friday with rookie Brandon Pfaadt on the mound. While he’s rated as Arizona’s top pitching prospect, Pfaadt has had a tough time during his first four starts in the big leagues, posting a 7.65 ERA and a 1.55 WHIP. His last two starts have gone better, although he still allowed four runs on seven hits over 10.1 innings across those two starts. The 24-year-old righty has hurt himself with walks thus far, which means the Diamondbacks can’t count on him going too deep into Friday’s game.
The silver lining for Pfaadt is that he’ll be facing a Boston lineup that’s ice-cold at the moment. The Red Sox have scored four total runs during their current four-game losing streak. Even before that, the Red Sox weren’t doing much hitting. They’ve been held to one run or less five times in their last 10 games. Of course, when the Red Sox start clicking offensively, they’re capable of doing some damage. However, Rafael Devers, Alex Verdugo, and several other key players are deep in a slump right now. Raimel Tapia and Masataka Yoshida are the only Boston hitters producing with any regularity right now.
In addition to getting their offense going, Boston’s hopes to end the team's losing streak on Friday hinges on Chris Sale. The 34-year-old lefty is 4-2 with a 5.01 ERA on the season, but that ERA has been inflated a little by a couple of poor starts in April. Sale has actually been the winning pitcher in three of his last four starts while pitching to a 2.57 ERA over his three starts in May. Not only is Sale pitching better but he’s also pitched at least six innings in each of his last four starts, giving up two runs or less in three of those starts and striking out 27 batters over his last three starts.
Clearly, Sale has found his groove, although the Diamondbacks could pose a challenge for him. Outside of Evan Longoria and Lourdes Gurriel, Sale has little experience against Arizona’s hitters. The D’Backs are also averaging 5.3 runs per game over their last 12 games, so they are in an offensive groove right now. Gurriel, Christian Walker, and Corbin Carroll all look like they could be all-stars. But with the way Sale has pitched lately, that may not matter, especially with the Diamondbacks unsure of what they’ll get from their starter, setting up the Red Sox to get a win Friday and get back on track.
Given the state of Boston’s offense at the moment, it’s tough to expect 10 or more runs to be scored in this game. The odds certainly make it enticing to take the over, especially since the Red Sox are the second-best team in baseball at hitting the over. However, the Red Sox tend to hit the over far more often at home. Meanwhile, the D’Backs are 10-12-2 O/U at home this season. With Sale in a groove, Pfaadt starting to figure things out, and Boston’s lineup unreliable at the moment, under 9.5 runs is the best option.
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Bryan Zarpentine is a 2008 graduate of Syracuse University and has been working as a freelance writer and editor since 2010. During that time, he has contributed to countless sites while covering baseball, soccer, the NFL, college football, and college basketball.More info on Bryan Zarpentine
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