First pitch: 7:30 p.m. ET
Probable pitchers: Keegan Akin (1-1, 3.38 ERA) vs. Nick Pivetta (0-0, 15.88 ERA)
Baltimore Orioles vs. Boston Red Sox Predictions
When a starting pitcher makes his debut with a new team, the results can largely vary. What’s their mindset? How are they approaching their sudden new beginning?
In the case of Nick Pivetta, you have to believe it’s nothing but positive thoughts. After a few years as a regular member of the Philadelphia Phillies rotation, Pivetta was on the outside looking in, and who could blame the Fightin’ Phils for that decision? He had a 5.34 ERA and 1.43 WHIP in his three seasons with the club.
At the same time, Pivetta definitely wasn’t as bad as those numbers suggest. In fact, his career 4.64 FIP solidifies such. He’s still young, being just 27, and the fact remains he’s also a pitcher that’s logged more than a strikeout per inning (9.56 K/9) across a fair sample size of 396.1 innings at the Major League level. That’s notable.
This to me looks like a classic case of a guy about to thrive in his new surroundings with a fresh opportunity. Even better, it’s a lower-pressure situation not having to deal with the potential rowdy Boston fan base at Fenway Park.
Above all that — at least as far as tonight is concerned — Pivetta draws a favorable matchup opposite one of the league’s lighter-hitting offenses that is without its most feared hitter (Anthony Santander).
As for the other starter in this series opener, he’s a rookie making just his seventh big-league appearance (fifth start), but how can you not be impressed with the work showcased by Keegan Akin?
The former second-round pick has done nothing but dazzle. In three of his four assignments, he didn’t even allow an earned run! The one start Akin was hounded came against the New York Yankees, whom he was facing for the second time in seven days. Yeah, uh. Advantage, Yankees, every single time.
Fortunately, Akin won’t be dealing with such a predicament here. That means he can continue to keep rolling, like he did in his last outing when he collected his first victory in the Majors by stringing together five shutout innings (opposite a tough Atlanta Braves lineup) and recording a career-high nine strikeouts. He’s had no problem putting up the Ks, now with an impressive 25 punch-outs in 18.2 innings.
Just as eye-opening as anything, batters are only hitting .200 off Akin. He’s a good bet for a quality start, and with Pivetta making a fine first impression in his new digs, there will be plenty to work with here.
Bet: UNDER 10 (-131)
MLB Leans - September 22
TB/NYM Under 7.5
MIA/ATL Over 9.5
2020 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*: 17-38-4, -26.14 units
Yesterday’s Result: COL/SF Under 8 (“loss”)
*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit