My return to daily MLB picks got off to a good start last night as the Red Sox defeated the Chicago White Sox by a 4-1 count. I expected the Red Sox to get to White Sox starter Mike Pelfrey early and often, but it was the White Sox bullpen, and more specifically Anthony Swarzak, that the Red Sox were able to rally against in a four-run sixth inning. Those four runs were all Drew Pomeranz needed on the night as he tossed seven strong innings, giving up seven hits, walking none and striking out eight en route to his fifth victory of the season. Let’s hope the Red Sox can keep it going with tonight’s Free MLB pick!
Season Record: 3-3 Units: +0.16 units
Boston Red Sox vs. Baltimore Orioles
MY PICK: RED SOX (-128) *Risking 1.28 units to win 1 unit*
The Red Sox and Orioles will clash once again tonight to open up a four-game set from Camden Yards in Baltimore. The Red Sox will send left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez to the mound tonight to take on fellow southpaw Wade Miley of the Orioles. Looking at these two pitchers, I see one that has had a very good season and has deserved most his fortune to this point, and I see one that has been very fortunate this season and has grossly out-pitched his concerning peripherals to this point in the season.
The first pitcher is Red Sox southpaw Eduardo Rodriguez who enters play tonight sporting a 2.77 ERA on the season. His FIP is a littler higher than that at 3.33 on the season, but with a 9.60 K/9 and a 0.81 Hr/9 Rodriquez matches up quite well with the free-swinging Orioles. Baltimore’s projected lineup has them starting six hitters that have struck out at least 20% of the time against left-handed pitching and three that have struck out more than 25% of the time against lefties. They will stack as many righties as they can against Rodriguez, but that won’t help in the strikeout department as Rodriguez sports a higher strikeout rate to righties (27.5%) than he does to lefties (22.7%). His fly-ball numbers are up against righties, but he has yielded less hard contact (27%) to righties than he has to lefties (31%) this season. There is no doubt Baltimore has some powerful right-handed bats in their lineup, and maybe they do scratch a few across the plate against Rodriguez, but the swing-and-miss is very prevalent in this lineup and the Red Sox should be able to get to Orioles’ starter Wade Miley this evening for some run support.
Miley is the aforementioned pitcher that has escaped some concerning peripheral figures this season. He sports a wonderful 3.02 ERA on the season, but when we see that his FIP sits at 4.62 and his xFIP at 4.11, we can see some regression coming. He is walking a career-high 5.20 hitters per nine innings this year, but has managed to escape heavy traffic on the bases with a 84.5% strand rate on the season, a mark that is about 12% above his career average. He has posted a solid strikeout clip of 8.55 K/9 on the season, but Boston could realistically have 7 to 9 hitters in their lineup striking out less than 18% of the time against lefties and six that strikeout less than 16% of the time against lefties. The swing-and-miss just isn’t in this Red Sox lineup and that will certainly limit the ways in which Miley can escape jams tonight. Considering a career-high 37.3% of the balls put in play against Miley this season have been of the hard hit variety, I certainly believe the regression continues tonight. I use the word continue because he has allowed 22 hits over his last 17 innings to go along with eight walks and only eight strikeouts over that span (three starts). This Boston offense may not be as potent as last season’s, but rest assured they can certainly make Miley pay if he continues to put traffic on the bases tonight.
Add it all up and I am on the Red Sox tonight to take the first of four games from Baltimore at very reasonable odds.