The family of ESPN Networks will have a doubleheader on Wednesday night as the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are at Fenway Park to take on the Boston Red Sox on ESPN2 at 7:10 p.m. ET. On ESPN, the other Los Angeles team, the Dodgers, will host the San Diego Padres with a 10:10 p.m. ET first pitch.
Matchup: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Boston Red Sox
Date/Time: August 20, 8:10 p.m. ET
MLB Betting Odds From 5Dimes Sportsbook
Probable Starters: LAA: Garrett Richards (13-4, 2.53) v. BOS: Clay Buchholz (5-7, 5.79)
Moneyline: Los Angeles Angels -138
Total: 8.5 -115/105
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have taken advantage of a rare tough stretch for the Oakland A’s and took sole possession of first place in the AL West for the first time since May 15, 2011 with Monday’s win over the Red Sox while the A’s had a day off. With Tuesday’s win over/against the Red Sox, the Angels maintained their lead in the AL West. The Red Sox, meanwhile, trail the Baltimore Orioles by 16.5 in the AL East.
The Angels should have a great chance to win on Wednesday night when they send Garrett Richards to the mound. Richards has harnessed his mid-90s sinker and the results have been clear to see. Richards is averaging just shy of a strikeout per innings and a K/BB ratio of better than 3/1. Since being one of the most notable AL All-Star snubs after taking an 11-2 record and a 2.55 ERA into the break, Richards is just 2-2 but has lowered his season ERA to 2.53. After a couple of tough outings to end July, Richards has allowed just three earned runs over his last 22.2 innings, including a complete game shutout over the Dodgers. Richards has allowed three runs or less in 20 out his 25 starts.
Clay Buchholz has been extremely inconsistent this season. After an injury cost him a month from May 26 to June 25, Buchholz posted a 5.40 ERA in eight starts from June 25 to August 3. Over his last two starts, however, Buchholz has struck out 17 in 15 innings with a 3.00 ERA. In any event, Buchholz hasn’t finished a start with an ERA below 5.42 at any point this season. Despite some signs of coming out of his season-long funk, Buchholz is hard to trust.
Richards will be facing the Red Sox for the second time as a starter and sixth time overall. Richards’s start came just last week as he allowed three runs, one earned, in 6.1 innings. He didn’t factor in the decision, but the Angels won the game 5-4. In Richards’s 25 starts, the Angels are 18-7 for a profit of 9.60 units. That makes Richards the fourth-most profitable pitcher to back on the season.
This will be the 12th start of Buchholz’s career against the Angels. He’s 6-3 with a 4.48 ERA in 70.1 innings of work. He was good last week against the Angels as he allowed three runs on six hits in eight innings. The Red Sox are 7-13 in Buchholz’s 20 starts for a loss of 10.08 units, the fifth-worst mark among all starting pitchers.
Free MLB Pick: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Richards has been one of the top bets and there’s no reason to back the Red Sox at this point in the season. They’re around .500 since the All-Star Break, but the Angels are surging right now and are clicking on all cylinders. Buchholz is impossible to back at almost any price with his inconsistent season.
Matchup: San Diego Padres at Los Angeles Dodgers
Date/Time: August 20, 10:10 p.m. ET
MLB Betting Odds From 5Dimes Sportsbook
Probable Starters: SD: Eric Stults (5-13, 4.64) v. LAD: Roberto Hernandez (7-8, 3.72)
Moneyline: Los Angeles Dodgers -149
Total: 7.5 108/-118
The San Diego Padres were cooled off in St. Louis last weekend, even though they had several chances to rally against the Cardinals bullpen. Even with that setback, the Padres entered play on Tuesday night with a 17-11 record and a +40 run differential since the All-Star Break. That mark fell to 17-12 with Tuesday’s loss against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers had a day off on Monday to lick their wounds after getting swept by the Milwaukee Brewers. With Tuesday’s win against the Padres, their lead in the NL West grew to 4.5 games.
It’s been a difficult year for Eric Stults, who wound up being a serviceable innings eater in 2013 for the Padres. This season hasn’t quite gone the same. Stults managed to go 0-6 in his six starts in the month of June as the Padres managed a total of seven runs worth of support for him. Overall, the Padres have scored 2.7 runs per game for Stults and have been shut out or scored one run in 10 of his 24 starts. Part of the turnaround for the Padres in August has been because of Stults, who is 2-0 with a 1.37 ERA in his 19.2 innings this month.
Roberto Hernandez will be making his third start for the Dodgers after being acquired in a waiver transaction on August 7. Hernandez was added because of injuries to Josh Beckett and Hyun-Jin Ryu and he has actually pitched pretty well in his first two starts at Atlanta and at Milwaukee. He walked four in his last start, but has allowed only three hits in each of his two starts. The Dominican right-hander had a 3.87 ERA over 23 starts with the Phillies. Since June 23, Hernandez has a 2.73 ERA in his last nine starts.
Stults has pitched well in his career against the Dodgers. In six previous starts, he’s 1-4 with a 3.96 ERA. He has a 3.99 ERA in 97 career innings at Dodger Stadium. Earlier this season, Stults was a tough luck loser against the Dodgers after allowing just two runs over seven innings. The Padres are 9-15 in Stults’s 24 starts for a loss of 5.25 units.
Hernandez made one start against the Padres in 2013 and picked up a win with six quality innings as he allowed two runs on five hits. The Dodgers are 1-1 for a modest profit of 0.19 units in Hernandez’s two starts.
Free MLB Pick: San Diego Padres
This park is a decent fit for Stults’s flyball tendencies and the Padres have played pretty well of late. The Dodgers are shorthanded without Hanley Ramirez and Juan Uribe, as well as the starting pitchers that they are missing. The Padres are worth a look here with an inflated price because of the Dodgers name.