Four games will be on MLB Network on Thursday with two matinee getaway day games and two primetime matchups The primetime matchups will feature the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at the Boston Red Sox and the Atlanta Braves at the Cincinnati Reds.
Matchup: Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Boston Red Sox
Date/Time: August 21, 7:10 p.m. ET
TV: MLB Network
Probable Starters: LAA: Matt Shoemaker (11-4, 3.84) v. BOS: Rubby De La Rosa (4-4, 3.79)
Moneyline: Los Angeles Angels -120
Total: 9 -105/-105
The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim shook off a devastating knee injury to Garrett Richards to pick up a huge win and take a 1.5-game lead over the Oakland A’s, who lost to the New York Mets. The Boston Red Sox lost for the fifth time in six games. The 6-3 Angels win was their seventh victory in their last eight games. The Angels had a five-run fifth off of Clay Buchholz to provide more than enough offense for the bullpen, who threw 7.1 quality innings in relief of Richards, who left the game on a stretcher. The Angels will have a chance to sweep Boston at Fenway Park for the second time in three seasons.
Matt Shoemaker will be expected to provide some length following Richards’s abbreviated start. Shoemaker has been great at home with a 2.72 ERA in 59.1 innings, but the road hasn’t been nearly as kind. Shoemaker is 5-1 on the road, but owns a 5.70 ERA in 36.1 innings of work. He has fared much better as a starter than he did as a reliever, as he’s posted a 9-3 record and a 3.76 ERA in the rotation. In six appearances since the All-Star Break, including one three-inning relief appearance in a 19-inning game, Shoemaker has a 2.78 ERA.
Rubby De La Rosa has been somewhat of a bright spot for the Red Sox in what has become a lost season. He has a 3.79 ERA in 12 starts. He had a string of three straight quality starts snapped in his last outing against the Astros as he allowed six runs over four innings. That raised De La Rosa’s ERA by 58 points. Since the All-Star Break, De La Rosa has had some problems with his control by issuing 18 walks and striking out just 17 batters over 34 innings. The Red Sox have given De La Rosa two or fewer runs of support in eight of his 12 starts on the season.
Shoemaker’s lone appearance against the Red Sox in his career was in that aforementioned relief appearance. He picked up the win in that game with his three shutout relief innings. The Angels are 10-4 in Shoemaker’s 14 starts for a profit of 6.21 units, good enough to put him in the top-20 most profitable pitchers.
De La Rosa threw seven strong innings against the Angels earlier this season and picked up a win with that performance. He also has a 2011 start against them on his resume. The Red Sox are 6-6 in De La Rosa’s 12 starts for a very modest profit of 0.4 units.
Free MLB Pick: Boston Red Sox
Shoemaker’s road problems stem from the fact that he tends to allow more fly balls than ground balls and the ball really doesn’t carry at Angel Stadium, especially at night. Fly balls are a much different animal at Fenway Park. The Angels bullpen has worked a lot over the last four days and threw a heavy workload on Wednesday with the Richards injury. De La Rosa has pitched rather well and the Red Sox should rally to avoid the sweep.
Matchup: Atlanta Braves at Cincinnati Reds
Date/Time: August 21 7:10 p.m. ET
TV: MLB Network
MLB Betting Odds From 5Dimes Sportsbook
Probable Starters: ATL: Julio Teheran (11-9, 3.06) v. CIN: David Holmberg (0-0, 16.88)
Moneyline: Atlanta -162
Total: 8 -110/100
After a late night due to a rain delay and a lack of offense, the Cincinnati Reds have a quick turnaround to regroup when they welcome the Atlanta Braves to town. The Braves bullpen squandered a 2-0 lead heading into the bottom of the eighth on Wednesday for a tough defeat. The loss snapped a five-game winning streak, which came on the heels of a stretch in which the Braves lost 11 out of 14. The Reds have fallen well off the pace in the NL playoff chase, while the Braves are a game behind the San Francisco Giants for the second wild card spot.
Julio Teheran has really struggled since the start of July. After completing the first three months of the season with a 7-5 record and a 2.34 ERA, Teheran has a 4.53 ERA over his last nine starts. Teheran did get back on track a bit with a quality start in his last outing as he beat the Athletics. He has been the most consistent starter for a Braves team that was desperate for quality starting pitching following the Kris Medlen and Brandon Beachy injury news. Teheran was due for some regression earlier in the year, but he’s certainly pitching better than his statistics would indicate over the last month and a half.
David Holmberg will take the spot vacated by Homer Bailey after he left the starting rotation and was placed on the DL with an elbow injury. Holmberg made a spot start in the second game of a doubleheader earlier this season and lasted just 2.2 innings. With Triple-A Louisville, Holmberg is just 1-6 with a 4.64 ERA. He has allowed 113 hits in just 87.1 Triple-A innings this season and his strikeout numbers have taken a serious dive this season. Holmberg also struggled in his lone Major League start last season with the Diamondbacks, lasting just 3.2 innings.
Teheran will be facing the Reds for the third time in his career and the second time this season. In his start earlier this year, Teheran threw eight shutout innings and took a no-decision. The Braves are 15-11 in Teheran’s 26 starts for just 0.98 units of profit because they have not scored in support of him.
Holmberg will be facing the Braves for the first time and this will be his second career start at Great American Ball Park. He allowed three home runs in 2.2 innings earlier this season against the Cubs. The Reds won that game 6-5, so they are one unit to the good with him this season.
Free MLB Pick: Atlanta Braves
If Julio Teheran doesn’t get run support in a game against David Holmberg, he may never get run support. The Reds are really reeling again and Teheran has pitched better than his recent results would indicate, as a couple of bad starts have really skewed the numbers. The Braves had been playing well before Wednesday’s bullpen meltdown and the Reds have major bullpen issues of their own.
Adam Burke is a freelance writer and amateur handicapper with a knack for finding value through matchup analysis and a deep understanding of the sports betting market. His main area of expertise is baseball, with a background in sabermetrics and advanced statistics. He is the host of The Gridiron Gambling Report and our college football and college basketball BangTheBook.com podcasts on the BlogTalkRadio Network.