MLB Regular Season

Matchup: Boston Red Sox at Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Date/Time: July 18, 9:05 p.m. ET

Pitching Matchup: Rick Porcello (5-9, 5.90) vs. Garrett Richards (9-6, 3.53)

MLB Betting Odds From BetDSI Sportsbook

Moneyline: Los Angeles -140

Total: 7.5

The offenses for the Boston Red Sox and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim must have thought that the All-Star Break was still going on. Wade Miley and CJ Wilson took turns putting up zeroes on Friday night as the hitters for both teams struggled. That has been a story this season for both Mike Scioscia and John Farrell. The difference is that the Angels put it all together prior to the Break to jump into first place in the AL West and the Red Sox still sit in last place in the AL East. The two teams meet again on Saturday night, as Rick Porcello and Garrett Richards take the mound for their respective teams.

On June 27, the Angels were just 37-37, a .500 record in a division that the Houston Astros were basically running away with. They hit the All-Star Break at 48-40 to vault to the top of the standings. The 11-3 stretch could not have come at a better time, as front office turmoil involving GM Jerry Dipoto and manager Mike Scioscia finally hit a boiling point. Owner Arte Moreno sided with his longtime manager and Dipoto resigned from his post. As for the Red Sox, their impatient fan base is certainly taking a good, long look at John Farrell, who just two years ago, led the Red Sox to a World Series championship.

The biggest problem for the Red Sox has been starting pitching this season and that’s where Rick Porcello comes in. The Red Sox knew that they had a need in the rotation, so they traded Cuban slugger Yoenis Cespedes to the Detroit Tigers in exchange for Porcello. Porcello signed an extension for four years and $82.5M. So far, the Red Sox have not gotten much of a return on their investment.

Porcello enters this start with a 5-9 record and an unsightly 5.90 ERA. The advanced metrics do show a prettier picture for Porcello, with a 4.47 FIP and a 3.92 xFIP. Home runs have been the biggest area of concern for Porcello and the Red Sox. After allowing 18 in four of the last five seasons, and 16 in the other season, Porcello has already allowed 16 gopher balls in just 100.2 innings of work. The home run increase coincides with an overall increase in fly balls from the sinkerball pitcher, which is not the way that somebody like Porcello can have success.

Garrett Richards is also a sinkerball pitcher, but his is more like hitting a bowling ball. Porcello generally sits low 90s, whereas Richards can reach back for 97 with his sinker. Porcello also mixes in a variety of breaking balls. That’s not the case with Richards, who is predominantly a fastball/slider type of pitcher. He certainly gets results. This season, Richards has only struck out 18.3 percent of batters, a six-percent decrease from last season. The end result is an increase in ERA from 2.61 to 3.53.

His advanced metrics have gone up a little bit as well, due to the drop in strikeouts and an increase in walks. Richards didn’t start the 2015 season until April 19 as he recovered from knee surgery after a gruesome injury covering first base late last season. The Red Sox roughed up Richards back on May 27 with five runs on nine hits, which is a bit surprising given how little they see him and how tough his two-pitch mix can be.

MLB Prediction: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim

Porcello just hasn’t been consistent enough for the Red Sox this season. His advanced metrics do show some positive regression, so perhaps that is coming on the horizon, but he has had such bad command all season long that taking advantage of the Angels at home with their ace on the mound is too good to pass up.