MLB Picks: Porcello Guarantees Red Sox To Stay Hot vs. Royals

LT Profits Sports Group

Tuesday, May 17, 2016 6:12 PM GMT

The Royals have been done in by weak starting pitching in defense of their World Series title and things should not be easier vs. the hot Red Sox bats, making Boston the MLB pick.

 

Boston Red Sox vs. Kansas City Royals

MLB Record: 22-21-1, +4.56
The road team is deserving of its favoritism Tuesday night as both scheduled starting pitchers from last night have been pushed back following the that rainout of the series opener. Thus, it will still be Rick Porcello and the Boston Red Sox (24-14, 10-6 away) paying a visit to fellow right-hander Yordano Ventura and the Kansas City Royals (18-19, 11-6 home) at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, MO at 8:15 ET on FOX Sports - Kansas City. The posted money line at Bookmaker has Boston as a road favorite for this contest at current MLB odds of -124.

 

Sub-.500 Defending Champions
More than a few experts expected regression from the Royals this year after they perhaps overachieved the last two years based on their shaky starting pitching, and that has come to pass with Kansas City sitting one game below .500, this time being unable to overcome a cumulative 4.71 ERA from the starting pitchers so far. It took facing the worst team in baseball in the Atlanta Braves this past weekend for the Royals to snap a streak of five straight series losses.

The Red Sox are as hot as the Royals are cold, as they too are fulfilling some preseason predictions that had them going from last place in the American League East last season to first place this year. They are not quite there yet as they are technically in second place as MLB picks, but in reality they are just seven percentage points behind while in a virtual tie with the Baltimore Orioles, with those clubs having the two best records in the American League.

 

Nice Comeback Season for Porcello
Porcello broke into the Major Leagues with a nice rookie season for the Detroit Tigers way back in 2009 when he went 14-9 with a 3.96 ERA, but unfortunately he had been unable to match that success since then before this year, which is his second season with Boston. However, Porcello continued what now looks like a career year with another Quality Start vs. the Oakland A’s last Wednesday, leaving him at 6-1 with a 3.11 ERA and 0.99 WHIP for the season.

Now normally, we would expect regression from pitchers that are exceeding expectations, except that in the case of Porcello he may have been underrated coming into this season and his peripheral numbers suggest that his great start is not a fluke. To wit, Porcello has an excellent ratio of 8.94 strikeouts vs. 1.94 walks per nine innings, leading to a 3.64 FIP and 3.38 xFIP that both legitimize the ERA.

Ever since allowing four runs in his season debut, Porcello has now allowed three runs or less in each of his last six outings including two scoreless efforts, with all six of those start being official Quality Starts.

Ventura Has Not Been Ace
Ventura was being counted on to be the ace of the Kansas City staff this year, but he has continued to disappoint just as he did most of last season for a pitcher that has hit 100 MPH with his fastball with regularity. Granted Ventura did get credit for just his third Quality Start of the year last time out vs. the New York Yankees out of seven starts overall, but that was after posting identical stat lines of five earned runs allowed in just four innings his two prior starts.

Furthermore he met just the bare requirement to get a Quality Start vs. New York allowing three earned runs in six innings, and he was hardly sharp while allowing six hits and walking three batters vs. just one measly strikeout. Ventura is now 3-2 with a 4.62 ERA and 1.57 WHIP for the season, and he has actually been worse than that with his dreadful command numbers of 6.32 strikeouts vs. a horrid 6.81 walks per nine innings leading to a 5.45 FIP and 5.96 xFIP!

Not surprisingly, that leaves Ventura dead last in the Major Leagues in walks per nine innings and in xFIP as well as fifth from the bottom among all qualified starters in FIP. Now, all he has to do is deal with a scorching-hot Boston offense averaging 8.52 runs per game while batting .336 overall over the last 10 games.

 

Head-to-Head Boston Success
Finally, despite the fact that the Royals are two-time defending American League Champions while the Red Sox have finished in last place each of the last two years, it is the Red Sox that have gone 10-4 in the last 14 head-to-head meetings including 5-2 in the last seven meetings in Kansas City. Boston also comes in 16-5 in its last 21 games overall while Kansas City is a dismal 6-13 over its last 19 games.

Given the directions in which these starting pitchers are going this season, look for those trends to continue with Boston staying red-hot with another victory visiting a cold Kansas City team on Tuesday.

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Free MLB Pick: Boston Red Sox -124
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker