After sweeping the Toronto Blue Jays in a four-game set, the Texas Rangers were sitting pretty in a Wild Card spot... and then proceeded to lose four in a row. One step forward two steps back or something like that.
Now, with the Boston Red Sox having already won Game 1 of this series, Texas will hand the ball to the former Boston hurler, Nathan Eovaldi. MLB odds like the home side's chances at evening up this three-game set, and my MLB picks for the Red Sox vs. Rangers are agreeing with the books Tuesday.
Red Sox vs Rangers odds
Red Sox vs Rangers predictions
The Boston Red Sox recent performance raises eyebrows, as their once-stellar offense has hit a rough patch. Despite boasting a season-long wRC+ of 102, the Red Sox have stumbled to a lackluster 78 wRC+ in the last two weeks. This sudden offensive downturn provides an opening that the Texas Rangers can exploit despite losing last night.
Adding to Boston's woes is its increased propensity for strikeouts. Throughout the season, the BoSox maintained a strikeout rate of 21.8%. However, in the last two weeks, that figure has surged to a concerning 27.9%.
Enter Nathan Eovaldi. Despite facing a recent dip in his strikeout performance (18.9% in September), he still maintains a respectable 22.9% strikeout rate, slightly above the league average of 22.1%. This matchup offers Eovaldi an opportunity to capitalize on Boston's recent struggles and put up a strong performance against his former team.
Regarding Eovaldi's history with the Red Sox, it's worth noting he allowed four runs against them in July. However, we're dealing with a different offensive landscape now. Boston's recent woes at the plate should pave the way for Eovaldi to shine and aid the Rangers in securing a victory.
On the other side, Boston's pitching situation might work in favor of Texas. Tanner Houck has had a challenging September — accumulating a 4.96 ERA — and unfortunately for the RHP, he relies on his slider... a pitch the Rangers rank first in run value against (0.59 per 100 sliders faced).
This proficiency against Houck's primary pitch could prove pivotal for Texas as it seeks to capitalize on his recent struggles and its advantage against his go-to offering.
While the Red Sox have had a commendable season, their recent offensive woes, coupled with the matchup against Eovaldi, provide an opportunity for the Rangers. With Houck's slider not posing a significant threat to hitters, Texas should take this one.
My best bet: Rangers moneyline (-156 at FanDuel)
Red Sox vs Rangers same-game parlay
I'm going to go heavy on Texas here with my same-game parlay.
I talked a lot about Eovaldi’s declining strikeout numbers, but I can’t get past the Red Sox’ awful 27.9% strikeout rate. It’s not like Eovaldi isn’t capable of hitting five strikeouts, he had done so in five of six starts before his poor four-start stretch from late August into September.
I like buying low on Eovaldi strikeouts, and I also like buying this offense against sliders. Houck throws them 37.1% of the time and really relies on it to get outs. Corey Seager is one of the best in baseball against the pitch and leads the way for the Rangers with a 2.00 run value against sliders. Should Houck opt to throw his sinker, Seager has a stunning 3.86 run value against that pitch as well.
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Red Sox vs Rangers moneyline and Over/Under analysis
While I’m confident in Eovaldi this time around against the Red Sox, I do worry about him when he’s not striking as many guys out. The Red Sox are a decent enough team at converting ground balls to hits, and they have had a decent history against the former Boston hurler.
Furthermore, while the expected stats would indicate that Houck has been slightly unfortunate, he still hasn’t exactly pitched very well. His hard-hit rate is up at 44.2% with an 8.5% walk rate. Sure, his barrel rate is low, but his xBA is right at the league average.
That’s not going to work against a Rangers team which, as I’ve covered, hits sliders very well. It’s also a team that has one of the best offenses in baseball and has been hot over the last two weeks.
With that, I have to lean towards the Over here. It’s worth noting that 75% of the tickets wagered on the total have come in on the Over at DraftKings, and it accounts for 92% of the total handle.
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The Texas Rangers have hit the game total Over in 19 of their last 25 games (+12.60 Units / 46% ROI). Find more MLB betting trends for Red Sox vs Rangers
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Red Sox vs Rangers game info
|Location:||Globe Life Field, Arlington, TX|
|Date:||Tuesday, September 19, 2023|
|First pitch:||8:05 p.m. ET|
|TV:||NESN, Bally Sports Southwest|
Tanner Houck (5-9, 4.94 ERA): The 27-year-old righty owns a 4.96 ERA in the month of September, but he’s coming off his best start of the season. Houck shut out the Yankees over six innings last Thursday, striking out seven.
Nathan Eovaldi (11-4, 2.96 ERA): The former Red Sox flamethrower has pitched to a disastrous 7.71 ERA this month, failing it to make it out of the second inning, then the third inning, before allowing two earned runs over 3 1/3 his last time out against Toronto.
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