Washington Nationals vs. Boston Red Sox Prediction 8/29/20
Washington Nationals (12-17) vs. Boston Red Sox (10-22)
When: 7:30 p.m., Friday, August 14
Where: Fenway Park, Boston
Starting Pitchers: Anibal Sanchez (1-3, 6.48 ERA, 1.72 WHIP) vs. Chris Mazza (0-1, 6.35 ERA, 2.12 WHIP)
Moneyline: WSH -106/BOS -104 (BetOnline - Awesome Live Betting Platform!)
Runline: Nationals +1.5/Red Sox -1.5
That’s the only reason that these teams still have something to play for in this short season, as both the Nationals and the Red Sox would be long out of it if the playoffs hadn’t been expanded to include over half of baseball. Even with the expanded playoff format, these teams are on the cusp of being out of it entirely. Washington is in much better shape than Boston because the Nationals play in the much more balanced National League. They sit just three games back of a guaranteed playoff spot, and only the top six teams in the league even have a winning record.
Boston, on the other hand, might be ready to throw in the towel on the season. The Red Sox are already seven games behind the Blue Jays for the last spot in the loaded American League and have only about a 7.5 percent chance of even qualifying for the playoffs. Not only that, but Boston has already shown signs of looking disengaged, as the Red Sox have lost four of their past five and been slammed by a combined 19-3 in their two most recent contests. Few people expected Boston to contend for a title this season, but almost nobody thought it would be this bad.
So why has it been so bad for the Red Sox? Simple: they can’t get outs. The Red Sox are getting whacked in virtually every game, no matter who they send out to the mound. Boston is the only team that has an ERA over 6, they’ve surrendered 32 more hits than the next-worst pitching staff, and they’re the only team in baseball that’s allowed 200 or more runs on the campaign. Somehow, it gets worse for the Red Sox, as they’ve also shown a tendency to allow free passes. Boston gives up just over four walks per game, which has them averaging roughly three baserunners every two innings.
That’s why the total is so high for this game: neither the Red Sox nor the Nationals have any ability to prevent runs. The Nationals don’t give up a lot of free passes the way the Red Sox do, but that’s about the only thing that Washington has going for it on defense. With opponents batting .274 against the Nationals, the only team that’s even arguably pitching worse than Boston or Washington is Philadelphia.
As usual, the Red Sox are perfectly designed to play at Fenway Park. With its unique shape, Fenway is an excellent place to hit doubles, and Boston ranks fourth in doing exactly that. Washington is no slouch at the plate either, ranking third in the majors in batting average. The problem is that the teams really aren’t cashing in when they do get men on base, as both are just middling in terms of actually driving men in and making those doubles worth something.
Friday showed the Nationals seemingly set to break out of their funk with a 10-run outburst. Still, the Nats have also seen false starts before, such as when they bunched 15 runs into a series opener with the Orioles and then scored nine runs total in the remaining two games of the set. Over the Nationals’ past eight games, they’ve managed to crack six runs on just three occasions. They’ve gone 2-1 when they’ve done that, but Washington just doesn’t have the pitching to win low-scoring games, going 1-4 when they scored five or less.
More Picks: Dodgers at Rangers
- The Nationals have won three of five on the road.
- The Red Sox have won one of their past seven at home.
- The under is 4-0 in the Red Sox’s past four games following the over hitting.
- The over is 5-1-1 in the Nationals’s past seven games.
- The Nationals have won five of the past seven matchups in Boston.
- The over is 14-5 in the teams’ past 19 meetings.
- The over is 4-0 in the teams’ past four meetings in Boston.
Tonight is a night to hit doubles, as the wind is blowing toward the Green Monster at 11 miles per hour to the south-southwest. However, the game is very much in doubt, with 75-degree temperatures and a strong thunderstorm set to hit Massachusetts right around the first pitch.
I’m really questioning whether Boston still thinks it has anything to play for. We’ve seen this phenomenon in the NBA, where teams tended to just pack it in during Game 4 if they had already fallen behind by a 0-3 margin in their series so that they could get out of the bubble and go home. That’s not a factor in baseball, as the Red Sox will still have to finish the season, but it’s clear that Boston has little interest in the rest of the year given that it’s already pretty much out of the race.
Washington, however, is still playing with hope. In an otherwise even matchup, I want the team that has a reason to win. Give me the Nats.
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