Boston Will Dump Phillies in Monday’s Tea Party on ESPN

Sunday, July 29, 2018 5:33 PM UTC

Sunday, Jul. 29, 2018 5:33 PM UTC

Boston begins a two-game home series with the Phillies on Monday at 7 ET on ESPN. The Phillies’ starting pitcher has a stronger ERA, but Boston’s will outperform him.

Philadelphia Phillies vs Boston Red Sox

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Free MLB Pick: BostonBest Line Offered: at Sports Betting

Philadelphia is undefeated in Aaron Nola's (12-3, 2.42 ERA) home starts, but 5-6 in his road starts. Nola is yielding -1.9 units on the road. Superficially, Nola shows great form, yielding an FIP (like ERA, but factors out luck) of 2.00 or under in four of his last five starts. But those four starts came against the weakest lineups, including Miami’s, the Mets’, Baltimore’s, and Washington’s amidst a disgusting slump. Overall, Nola has won 57% of his starts, but only 25% of his four road starts against a team ranking in the top 10 in runs per game. Boston ranks first in the category. His three losses and his three worst performances in terms of FIP came away from home.

Nola relies on a fastball, sinker, curve, and change-up with between 14 and 33% frequency. Nola challenges hitters with his unpredictability that allows him to confidently rank in the upper half in frequency of pitches thrown in the strike zone. He commands all his pitches well, allowing a BA no higher than .205 against any of them. He also mixes them up well, throwing them with no more than 40% frequency in any scenario. For example, he utilizes three of his pitches between 20 and 40 percent of the time with two strikes. Moreover, his sinker and fastball share identical horizontal and vertical release points, so that batters struggle to decipher which pitch is approaching them. But against the four stronger lineups that he faced on the road, he was unable to be as confident with his location and less than 40% of his pitches landed in the zone in three of those starts. When he did, particularly the teams outside his division saw his pitches well. Namely the Cubs and Dodgers achieved a hard and medium contact rate against him that far exceeds his season average.

Boston ranks first in runs per game because it boasts four players who rank in the top 30 in slugging. Andrew Benintendi and Xander Bogaerts slug above .500. Mookie Betts and J.D. Martinez slug over .640 and rank first and second, respectively, in the category.

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Boston’s David Price (11-6, 4.17 ERA) has won his last five home starts. He’s yielding +3 units with a +20.8% ROI at home.

The southpaw Price relies on four different pitches with between 13 and 34 percent frequency, a fastball, sinker, cutter, and change-up. Like Nola, Price’s fastball and sinker create deception by sharing identical release points. Opponents bat under .205 against both. His sinker is his favorite pitch in every scenario and its effectivity derives partly from batters often being unsure if a fastball isn’t approaching them until it’s too late. Price’s strength is command. He’s walked five batters in his past seven starts. He locates his pitches so well on all parts of the plate that it actually surprises batters when it lands over the heart of the plate, where opponents bat only .227 against him.

Price is 3-0 at home against teams that rank in the bottom 10 against lefties. He didn’t allow over two runs in at least six innings against any of them. Philly ranks 26th in the category. Asdrubal Cabrera was a great add for them on paper, but the lineup’s chemistry will initially struggle to develop. The Phillies have the eighth-largest disparity between runs scored at home and away. Its leading hitter, Odubel Herrera, is batting .239 in July. Its second-leading hitter, Maikel Franco, bats .255 away.

The FIP of Boston’s bullpen is .47 lower than Philadelphia’s. Philly’s second-best reliever, Seranthony Dominguez, is yielding an FIP over four in his past two appearances. Its third-best reliever, Edubray Ramos, is injured. For Boston, Matt Barnes has conceded two runs in July, Hector Velasquez hasn’t conceded in his last 5.1 innings, and Craig Kimbrel hasn’t blown consecutive save opportunities in over a year.

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