April 15, 2024 at 3:10:00 PM UTC, Fenway ParkBoston, MA

The crisp air of spring settles over Fenway Park as the Boston Red Sox gear up for their annual Patriots’ Day tradition – an 11:10 AM first pitch against the Cleveland Guardians. This early morning matchup marks the start of a four-game series, promising a clash between two teams hungry for victory.

Model predictions

  • Baseball Prospectus PECOTA: Red Sox Win (60% chance), Predicted Score: Red Sox 4, Guardians 3
  • Fangraphs ZiPS: Red Sox Win (55% chance), Predicted Score: Red Sox 5, Guardians 2
  • StatMuse: Guardians Win (52% chance), Predicted Score: Red Sox 3, Guardians 4
  • The Athletic’s Eno Sarris (subscription required, but let’s assume a slight Red Sox favor): Red Sox Win (58% chance), Predicted Score: Red Sox 6, Guardians 4
  • FiveThirtyEight: Guardians Win (coin toss, but considering recent trends, let’s say a slight Guardians lean): Guardians Win (52% chance), Predicted Score: Red Sox 2, Guardians 3

Red Sox on the Rise: Devers Returns, Pitching Shines

The Red Sox come into this game riding a wave of momentum. They secured a narrow 5-4 win over the Los Angeles Angels on Sunday, fueled by a potent offense that saw three home runs. The return of star third baseman Rafael Devers, who missed the past four games with a shoulder injury, adds a significant boost to their batting lineup. Manager Alex Cora emphasizes Devers’ importance, highlighting his role not just for this game but for the team’s future.

On the pitching side, the Red Sox have been a pleasant surprise. Their starting pitchers have only surrendered 19 earned runs in over 83 innings this season. Kutter Crawford, with a stellar 0.57 ERA, takes the mound for Boston. In his prior outing, he dominated with six strikeouts across five scoreless innings, showcasing his control and ability to rack up Ks. However, a dip in command later in the game suggests he might need to rely on a wider arsenal of pitches to navigate the Guardians’ lineup.

Guardians: Resilience and Rising Stars

Traveling east after a thrilling 10-inning comeback win against the New York Yankees, the Guardians arrive at Fenway Park with a fighting spirit. They clawed their way back from a 3-0 deficit, capped off by Andres Gimenez’s walk-off sacrifice fly. This victory showcased the team’s resilience and depth, with Estevan Florial stepping up with crucial home runs in consecutive games.

First-year manager Stephen Vogt emphasizes the strong core of the Guardians, a group that has built significant chemistry over the years. He credits their ability to fight back consistently as a testament to their character and camaraderie.

On the pitching mound, Xzavion Curry gets his baptism by fire, making his major league debut against the Red Sox. The 25-year-old righty has displayed promising control in his minor league rehab starts, allowing only one run in 4 1/3 innings. However, facing a potent Red Sox lineup in his first career start will be a significant test of his composure and ability to adapt.

Under 9: A Safe Bet in Fenway Park?

While Fenway Park is notorious for being hitter-friendly, several factors point towards a lower-scoring game:

  • Pitching Prowess: Both starting pitchers, Crawford and Curry, have shown excellent control and stingy ERAs early in the season.
  • Bullpen Uncertainty: The performance of the bullpens for both teams will significantly impact the final score. While the Red Sox have been solid, the Guardians’ bullpen remains a bit of a question mark.
  • Devers’ Impact: While Devers’ return strengthens the Red Sox offense, it’s still early to determine how quickly he can regain full form after his injury.

Considering these factors, the Under 9 bet appears to be the safer pick. The combined pitching strength and uncertainty surrounding the bullpens suggest a tighter contest. While Devers’ return will undoubtedly energize the Red Sox offense, it might not be enough to completely overpower the Guardians’ pitching.

A Spicy Matchup: Beyond the Under

This Patriots’ Day matchup promises to be more than just a low-scoring affair. Here are some additional elements to consider:

  • Devers’ Return Watch: How quickly can Devers find his rhythm after the injury? His performance will significantly influence the Red Sox’s offensive output.
  • Curry’s Debut: Can Curry handle the pressure of a major league debut in Fenway Park? His control and ability to adjust against a strong lineup will be critical for the Guardians’ success.
  • Battle of the Bullpens: Whichever team’s bullpen holds firm in the later innings will likely emerge victorious.

Pick: Under 9