By: Al Walsh – Follow him on Twitter @14AdotWalsh
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* 2019 MLB Record: 117-99-4 (54.2%) *
[4:10 p.m. EST] Over 11 (-110) – Toronto Blue Jays at Boston Red Sox
TOR: Derek Law – R (0-1, 5.16 ERA/1.59 WHIP)
BOS: Brian Johnson – L (10.00 ERA/2.67 WHIP)
These two teams have met seven times so this season, and the total has gone over in six of them – in the only misnomer, the total pushed at 10 runs. Not to mention, Blue Jays’ games have gone over the total in eight of the last 10, with one push mixed in there.
We’re going to see plenty of bullpen pitching today, and that’s a beautiful sign for the total going over. The Blue Jays’ bullpen owns the second-worst WHIP (1.66) and fifth-worst ERA (5.97) while the Red Sox’ actually owns the fourth-best ERA (3.11), but 10th-worst WHIP (1.41).
The one thing that sort of nullifies Boston’s bullpen ERA is that Brian Johnson will be starting the game. He has been atrocious this season in limited action, as seen by his massive 2.67 WHIP. In nine innings pitched this season, Johnson has allowed 18 hits (3 HR), six walks and 10 runs.
It’s to put much stock in this because we likely won’t see much of Johnson today, but Toronto has improved mightily against left-handed pitching, with a .358 wOBA and .229 ISO over the last 21 days.
It’s good to see the Red Sox offense getting back on track, scoring at least seven runs in six of their last eight games. Guys like Andrew Benintendi, Xander Bogaerts and Rafael Devers (he’s out of the lineup today, could still pinch hit late) have led the charge over this span, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez join in on the party against lesser pitching today.
* Final Score Prediction: Boston Red Sox: 10 – Toronto Blue Jays: 8 *
[4:10 p.m. EST] Miami Marlins at Philadelphia Phillies (1.5-run line: +108)
MIA: Elieser Hernandez – R (0-2, 3.95 ERA/1.17 WHIP)
PHI: Vince Velasquez – R (2-4, 4.71 ERA/1.52 WHIP)
We’re not going with numbers on this one – straight gut.
After a dreadful performance on their recent road trip, and then again last night on Chase Utley Night, I fully expect this Phils team to break out in a major way tonight. They have lost nine of the last 11 games, including five straight – enough is enough.
Vince Velasquez should be highly motivated to give the Marlins plenty of fits today. The Phils have not been shy about needing help at the back of the rotation, and VV will be looking to give them a reason to not make a deal. Velasquez has been solid over his career against the Marlins, and their current roster owns a .167 batting average and .237 on-base percentage against him lifetime.
Elieser Hernandez takes the mound for Miami, and he’s been fairly effective in limited action this season. However, he does have a knack to getting beat up by left-handed bats and the Phils have no shortage of talent in that regard. Look for Bryce Harper, Jay Bruce and the red-hot Brad Miller to get Philly on the scoreboard early, thus leading the way to get into that Marlins bullpen which has the seventh-highest WHIP (1.48) in MLB over the last 14 days.
Once again, this is more of a gut call, in that this Phillies team is absolutely due for a win. With the Marlins being less of a power hitting team, those 12 mph winds blowing in from left field aren’t going to do them any favors.
* Final Score Prediction: Philadelphia Phillies: 8 – Miami Marlins: 3 *
[4:10 p.m. EST] Under 8.5 (-102) – Cincinnati Reds at Milwaukee Brewers
CIN: Luis Castillo – R (7-1, 2.26 ERA/1.11 WHIP)
MIL: Jhoulys Chacin – R (3-8, 5.60 ERA/1.52 WHIP)
I don’t understand the Brewers being favored in this game but it does lead me to believe that Jhoulys Chacin will finally have a good outing. Not to mention, the total going under has the highest grade in the SK Trend Confidence rating today, as Reds’ games have produced that result in 15 of the last 17 contests.
It was a positive sign for Chacin that he allowed only two runs and matched a season-high seven strikeouts in his last outing, a 2-0 loss at San Diego. He did pitch well against Cincy back on April 2, allowing only three hits, three walks and two runs while striking out six over 5 1/3 innings.
There’s also positive thinking in the fact that Chacin has much better numbers at Miller Park, as opposed to pitching on the road:
– Home: (5 starts) 2-1, 3.76 ERA/1.25 WHIP – .213 opposing batting average
– Away: (8 starts) 1-7, 6.94 ERA/1.71 WHIP – .295 opposing batting average
Luis Castillo doesn’t need any introduction, but I’ll give it to you anyway. Over his last 18 innings, the electric righty has allowed eights and four runs while striking out 21.
The knock, though, is that he’s allowed 12 walks in that span of innings. That could possibly be what Vegas possibly sees as the differentiator.
Nonetheless, Cincy’s bullpen is one of the best in baseball, and that’s a big reason why a lot of these totals have been going under.
* Final Score Prediction: Milwaukee Brewers: 4 – Cincinnati Reds: 2 *