Red Sox vs. Nationals Prediction: Boston Turns to Sale to Clinch Wild Card Top Spot

Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale takes the hill with the Red Sox aiming to clinch a home Wild Card game.
Boston Red Sox starting pitcher Chris Sale takes the hill with the Red Sox aiming to clinch a home Wild Card game. / Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

A week ago, the Red Sox appeared to be on the brink of losing their playoff dreams after being swept by the Yankees at Yankee Stadium. They followed that up by losing two of three to the worst team in the American League.

Now, Boston has their ace on the hill as look to sweep away the Nationals on the road, securing the top spot in the American League Wild Card.

The Red Sox enter this afternoon's matchup from Nationals Park in D.C. as massive moneyline favorites, according to the traders at WynnBET, at odds of -230 (bet $230 to win $100). Want closer to even odds? Boston must win by more than three runs if bettors choose to take them on the run line; coming in at -2.5 with odds of +105.

For Washington, a straight-up victory at WynnBET would pay out 2/1 odds at +200; and at -135 odds on the +2.5 run line (Washington must win or lose by two runs or less). The total in this afternoon's game is set at 9.5 runs, with the under posted as a slight favorite at -115.

Red Sox vs. Nationals Pitching Matchup

Chris Sale (5-1, 2.90 ERA) has yet to throw more than six innings in a game since his return from Tommy John surgery back in August. In 40.1 innings pitched, he's only allowed 13 runs, with no more than three earned runs in a single outing.

He'll be opposed by Nationals right-hander Joan Adon making his Major League debut at home against one of the most opposing lineups in the American League. The 23-year old went 7-6 with a 4.97 ERA over 21 Minor League starts.

Boston Red Sox Playoff Scenarios

Similar to the Yankees, if Boston beats the Nationals, they are officially in the AL Wild Card game as the top overall seed. They would host the matchup against either the Yankees, Blue Jays or Mariners, depending on the outcome of all the games on Sunday.

If the Red Sox lose, they would still play in a tiebreaker game for a chance to play in the Wild Card game, but if two of the three teams previously mentioned also lose, then the Red Sox would still be directly in the Wild Card game.

Red Sox vs. Nationals Prediction and Pick

I'm fully expecting the Red Sox to take care of business against a 23-year old who didn't exactly light it up in the Minor Leagues, but there's still so much inherent randomness in baseball that I don't love the idea of taking Boston on the run line, and certainly am not grabbing them at -230 odds either.

The first two games of the series were both wins by Boston, but each were won by two runs or less. I think the Nationals hang around, getting to Boston's bullpen late, but not doing enough to take the finale.

Ultimately, I'll pass on actually betting on either of these teams, but with Sale not giving up many runs and the Red Sox never facing Adon before, I'll lean on the under as a play for this matchup.


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