- Chris Sale’s latest elbow injury has not affected the Boston Red Sox’ 2020 win total
- Sale underwent an MRI on his elbow and could be facing a lengthy absence
- With their ace out for an undetermined amount of time, is betting under on the Red Sox win total now the play?
Boston Red Sox fans were already feeling pessimistic about the upcoming season and the news out of Spring Training on Tuesday won’t help. Star pitcher Chris Sale is hurt yet again and this time he could be facing a lengthy stay on the injured list due to an elbow injury.
Despite the uncertainty surrounding their ace, the Red Sox season outlook hasn’t changed at online sportsbooks. Boston’s 2020 MLB win total remains between 83.5 and 84.5, depending on the site, with the juice slightly favored towards the under at the bigger number.
2020 Boston Red Sox Win Total Odds
|Sportsbook 1 O/U||Sportsbook 2 O/U||Sportsbook 3 O/U||Sportsbook 4 O/U|
|84.5 (+100o/-120u)||84.5 (-110o/-120u)||83.5 (-118o/-103u)||83.5 (-135o/+105u)|
Odds taken on March 3rd.
The Red Sox won 84 games in 2019 despite Sale missing the final month and a half due to soreness in the same elbow.
Sale’s Season In Serious Jeopardy
The 10-year veteran underwent an MRI on Monday, a day after throwing to hitters for the first time all spring. The results of the MRI are now being evaluated by Dr. James Andrews, and the team said Tuesday that there’s growing concern about his health.
Chris Sale's elbow being sore after live BP is very concerning; without being able to throw against live batting, he'll be limited to only facing the Tigers.
— DSzymborski (@DSzymborski) March 3, 2020
Sale visited Dr. Andrews last summer and was ultimately given platelet-rich plasma injections instead of surgery. It’s unclear if he’ll require Tommy John surgery, but anytime Dr. Andrews’ name is involved that’s usually the case.
Sale was looking to rebound this season after a sub-par 2019. He finished with a 6-11 record last year and a career worst 4.40 ERA. His strikeout rate remained high, but he gave up home runs at the highest clip of his career and allowed his most walks per nine innings since 2012.
Chris Sale getting an MRI. pic.twitter.com/RuDHPNdZhO
— JayDub (@JayDubTheGamer) March 3, 2020
Boston was already expecting him to start the season on the IL due to pneumonia, so how does Sale’s latest setback affect their 2020 prospects?
Boston Will Need to Rely Heavily on Its Bats
The starting rotation will clearly be the weak link of this team. With Sale out indefinitely, Eduardo Rodriguez will anchor the staff. The five-year veteran put up a career best 19 wins last season and had respectable numbers across the board. After him though, it gets dicey.
Well, at least the Red Sox have considerable pitching depth in their farm system.
But didn't they trade Mookie Betts and David Price?
— Christopher Crawford (@Crawford_MILB) March 3, 2020
David Price and Rich Porcello are gone, and Martin Perez, Nathan Eovaldi and Ryan Weber are expected to round out the top-four. Those arms won’t exactly strike fear in opposing hitters.
The bullpen appears to be solid behind Brandon Workman, Matt Barnes and Darwinzon Hernandez, while the offense should be among the AL’s best even without Mookie Betts.
Rafael Devers starts the month of March with a blast. pic.twitter.com/UKzTAGXvsG
— NESN (@NESN) March 1, 2020
Rafael Devers has the potential to be one of the best left-handed bats in baseball, while J.D. Martinez and Xander Bogaerts can still produce at an elite level.
The Red Sox will need to score plenty of runs to overcome their starting pitching deficiencies, but don’t forget they were one of the few teams to cross the plate 900+ times in 2019.
Sale’s Status Makes Boston a Fade
If the Red Sox played in a weaker division, there may be some merit to betting their over, but the uncertainty of their best pitcher, the lack of depth behind him, and the quality of opposition they’ll face 19 times a season makes them a fade.
The Yankees look like an absolute juggernaut, even with their own injury concerns, while the Rays are stacked again. Boston should be able to keep pace with most teams offensively, but unless they add a significant piece to their starting rotation, it’s hard to imagine them being an actual contender. This group is much closer to a .500 team, so shop around and bet the Red Sox under at the highest total you can find.