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MLB Free Pick: Red Sox vs Braves

September 4, 2018

The Boston Red Sox continue their trek to setting a new franchise record for regular season victories when they resume their current three-game series on the road against the Atlanta Braves on Tuesday.

The current line on top sportsbooks has Boston favored at -135, Atlanta +115 and the run total on 9.

American League rivals the Cleveland Indians and New York Yankees made deals last week that gave each a former MVP, but the Red Sox had pitchers returning from the disabled list such as David Price, Eduardo Rodriguez and ace Chris Sale and Ian Kinsler at second base who was becoming accustomed to playing with Boston and therefore opted to not take part in any waiver action.

Rodriguez was a winner during the weekend and Kinsler knocked in three runs with clutch hitting in Boston’s Labor Day 8-2 win over the Braves.

Second baseman Brandon Phillips is expected to be recalled by Boston in time to play on Tuesday. Red Sox third baseman Rafael Devers should be activated on Tuesday from the team’s 10-day disabled list.

Atlanta is in first place in the National League East. However, the Braves missed an opportunity to lengthen the lead with the loss on Monday and currently are four games ahead of the struggling Philadelphia Phillies.

Atlanta first baseman Freddie Freeman has just 5 hits in his last 34 at-bats during the past eight games.

Tuesday’s game between the Red Sox and Braves will have two of the better pitchers for each team on the mound.

Boston will have Rick Porcello on the hill. The right-hander is 15-7 with a 4.26 ERA. Porcello has not won in his last three starts and was hit hard during that span allowing 20 hits and 12 runs over 17 innings.

Porcello last win came against Philadelphia in a game that he had 10 strikeouts and allowed just a single run in seven innings of work. Porcello in 39 interleague games during his career is 20-8 with a 4.12 ERA, including three starts versus Atlanta in which he is 2-1.

Atlanta will counter with Sean Newcomb. The Braves right-hander is 11-7 with a 3.84 ERA. Newcomb has also been hit hard of late allowing five runs or more in three of the last four outings and was defeated last Wednesday in his most recent start by Tampa Bay. In late May, Newcomb started at Fenway Park but pitched just three innings allowing six hits and three runs while walking four.

Prediction: Boston has returned to fine form after struggling for three or four series two weeks ago. The bats are back on track and pitching is returning to midseason form. The Red Sox will continue that run with a 6-2 victory Tuesday.