Baltimore Orioles’ Trey Mancini plays against the Boston Red Sox during the sixth inning of an opening day baseball game, Friday, April 2, 2021, in Boston. (AP Photo/Michael Dwyer)
- The Boston Red Sox host the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday afternoon
- Tanner Houck and Matt Harvey are listed as the starting pitchers
- Read below for a preview and best bets for the game
Baltimore opened the season with a win over Boston but the path to two in a row looks rocky.
The Orioles send Matt Harvey to the mound on Saturday afternoon to face super prospect Tanner Houck. Experience doesn’t trump talent and the Red Sox are listed as favorites due in large part to the pitching matchup.
Orioles vs Red Sox Odds
|Team||Run Line at FanDuel||Moneyline||Total|
|Baltimore Orioles||+1.5 (-125)||+164||O 10 (-118)|
|Boston Red Sox||-1.5 (+104)||-196||U 10 (-104)|
Odds as of April 2nd
Let’s take a look at some of the key storylines, including one of the best in baseball this season, to try and find the best value bet on the board.
Mancini Return A Huge Boost To Baltimore
Trey Mancini returned to the Orioles lineup after a year long battle with colon cancer.
When asked how it felt to get the diagnosis after a successful season in Baltimore, he answered saying “You’re not thinking about anything like that, you just want to be alive.” In a year that’s been so tough for so many, an uplifting story like Mancini’s is one all baseball fans will enjoy following this summer.
Good to have you back, @TreyMancini! 👋🧡 pic.twitter.com/sDH6MKrkLY
— MLB (@MLB) April 2, 2021
From a baseball standpoint, his return to Baltimore is a huge boost. He hit .291 in 2019 with 35 home runs and 97 runs batted in. He’s unquestionably the most talented player on the team at the plate and gives opposing pitchers someone to fear right of the gate. In the opener, manager Brandon Hyde had Mancini hitting in the 2-hole. While he will add pop to a lineup thin on talent, it will be tough to provide enough offense to help his starting pitcher on Saturday.
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Harvey Begins Life With The Orioles
Harvey is quickly becoming the Ryan Fitzpatrick of major league baseball, except for the successful play of course. Since 2018, Harvey has played with the Mets, Reds, Angels, Royals and now Orioles. Most recently his run in Kansas City was an unmitigated disaster. In four starts last year, he went 0-3 with a 11.57 ERA and 2.74 WHIP. Those are video game numbers and frankly, if your pitcher had those numbers in MLB The Show you’d probably turn the difficulty level down.
Matt Harvey has been named the Orioles’ No. 2 starter. pic.twitter.com/zQ8TZ8EPSR
— Orioles on MASN (@masnOrioles) March 27, 2021
It was surprising to see Harvey get a job at all this year, never mind an opportunity to start the second game of the season. The lone positive is the Red Sox lineup has not seen much of him, which could bode well the first time through the order.
Red Sox Career Stats vs Harvey
Even taking into consideration Harvey’s possible upper hand in the first few innings, it’s hard to imagine him going deep in the game without getting into trouble. The recent track record is the strongest case for fading him at all costs.
Houck Looking To Build On Solid Debut
Tanner Houck made his MLB debut last year and was very impressive, despite a small sample size. In three starts he racked up 21 strikeouts in 17 innings with a 0.53 ERA and 0.88 WHIP. The Red Sox first round pick back in 2017 showcased the stuff many scouts believed he had.
First day at the office.
First at bat.
First hit. pic.twitter.com/7txx6CO5Vd
— Red Sox (@RedSox) April 2, 2021
More important than some of the raw numbers were the fact he was consistent in each outing. In all three starts Houck threw at least 85 pitches. In short, it’s much more likely he’ll pitch deep into Saturday’s game than his counterpart.
Red Sox On The Run Line Is The Value Play
Early in the season the strategy is simple: fade pitchers with a recent track record of inflated numbers. No starter fits that description more than Harvey. Trust Houck to win his fourth start with an impressive outing, much like his first three.
The Pick: Red Sox -1.5 (+104)
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Ryan has been working at TSN for over eleven years, and is now a lead writer and content producer at That’s Hockey. Over the years, he’s launched and hosted TSN’s first NCAAF podcast, The College Football Show, and been featured on the likes of TSN 1050, Sportscentre, and That’s Hockey 2Nite.