Boston Red Sox (18-8) at Toronto Blue Jays (10-17)
Future Cy Young Winner?
The Boston Red Sox have done a “360” this year from last year and a big reason why is the pitching of Clay Buchholz (5-0, 1.19). Buchholz is off to a Cy Young Award caliber start as he’s responsible for nearly 1/3 of Boston’s wins in just 5 starts.
Along with the outstanding pitching, Buchholz is pitching at a 3 to 1 ratio of strikeouts to walks and is also striking out a batter per inning. To top things off, he has a history of playing well against Toronto. Buchholz is 8-4 with a 2.60 ERA in 14 career starts against the Blue Jays. Buchholz alone, provides the public major confidence in picking the Bosox against the Blue Jays in tonight’s game.
Buchholz will be opposed by workhorse, Mark Buherle (1-1, 6.35). Buehrle is off to a somewhat sluggish start, but when you have the combination of Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion in your starting lineup, you have to feel some level of security.
Canadian Bash Brothers
With Encarnacion, I haven’t been judging him by his .238 batting average as he’s been making exceptional contact with the baseball and sometimes a player is going to hit the ball hard, but the fielder will be in the right place to catch it.
Encarnacion has been on a major tear as of late. He’s on an 8 game hitting streak and has hit 7 home runs and 12 runs batted in during his last 7 games.
Jose Bautista is also hitting poorly for average; right at the Mendoza Line at .200. That said, in his last 6 games, he’s hit 3 home runs and 4 runs batted in. Without Jose Reyes in the lineup, these two players are the heart of this baseball team and are starting to catch fire. This might be the first legitimate test that Buchholz faces as he goes for win number 6.
It is a scary prospect of dealing with Encarnacion and Bautista, but the pitcher wins most of the time in these matchups. Until or if Buchholz declines, I’m sticking with him.
Pick – Boston Red Sox -130 at 5 Dimes for your MLB picks
Colorado Rockies (16-11) at Los Angeles Dodgers (13-13)
With the way that Josh Beckett has pitched this season, I’m a bit surprised that the MLB odds boards have the Dodgers as a -145 betting favorite.
Beckett (0-3, 4.75) is coming off of a no-decision to Milwaukee in which he gave up 3 runs and 7 hits in just over 5 innings of work. Beckett also hasn’t been going deep into games like he used to.
Los Angeles will be dealing with an undefeated pitcher in Juan Nicasio. That said, Nicasio is lucky to be 3-0. He barely goes 5 innings himself and carries a 4.62 ERA. Will this be the game that Josh Beckett picks up his 1st win of the season?
The Dodgers have to feel good that Hanley Ramirez had a 2 for 4 game last night with a home run in his 2nd game of the season. They also have to feel good that Matt Kemp is starting to hit.
Ever since Kemp’s hamstring injury last season, he hasn’t been the same MVP caliber player. This was a player that never missed games and has turned into a walking MASH unit. Kemp started off the season super-slow, but has started to pick up the pace. The only thing missing in his game is the long ball, but that will come in time.
Kemp is a career 4 for 11 off of Nicasio with 2 HR and 4 RBI.
Another player that Juan Nicasio will be looking to pitch around is Andre Ethier. Ethier is a career 7 for 11 with 1 HR and 4 RBI against the right hander.
From the Rockies perspective, they’ve been without superstar Troy Tulowitzki for 2 straight games with a shoulder strain. No need to worry as Carlos Gonzalez has hit 4 for 8 in that time with a home run last night. “Cargo”, as the fans call him, is a threat to the opposing team everytime that he steps up to the plate.
Gonzalez doesn’t have a history with Beckett and we’ll see how it goes as they meet tonight in Los Angeles.
Even though he’s not the same pitcher that he once was, I’m expecting Josh Beckett to snap out of it with a decent performance tonight. Nicasio is a good matchup for the meat of the Dodgers lineup and that makes Los Angeles the appealing pick. Lay the juice with L.A.
Good Luck, everyone!