The Boston Red Sox host the Toronto Blue Jays Monday night. Our handicapper analyzes the pitching matchup and provides an extra value parlay as part of your Monday MLB Picks.
The Boston Red Sox host the Toronto Blue Jays Monday night at 6:10 EST after getting shelled 18-7 on Sunday courtesy of the Baltimore Orioles in Camden Yards. Toronto is also coming off of a 5-1 loss as their bats failed to come to life versus Tampa Bay starter, Chris Archer. Toronto was swept in Tampa Bay after only scoring 5 runs over three games. Starting for the Blue Jays is Aaron Sanchez, who was excellent out of the bullpen in 24 games in 2014, registering a pristine 1.09 ERA over 33 innings. Fresh out of the Cardinals organization, Joe Kelly takes the mound for the Red Sox with an early 1-0 record over three starts. Early odds opened with the home team Red Sox favored at -148 with the initial O/U set at a lofty 9.5 runs.
Joe Kelly has been hot to begin the season, and by hot, I mean his fastball velocity. Kelly’s fastball has averaged 95.7 MPH over his first three starts of the season, a full mile per hour faster than his average speed over his last three seasons combined. Needless to say, with a fastball that live his tendency to throw an off-speed pitch has declined early this season. With this improvement in velocity, Kelly’s contact percentage on pitches in the strike zone has also improved considerably to date, with a contact rate in 2015 at 76.2% compared with his career rate of 83.4%. Looking at these stats, one could be confused at Kelly’s elevated ERA of 4.08. However, Kelly’s fielding adjusted ERA sits at a very respectable 3.48. It appears that his performance and ‘stuff’ is definitely better than his current mainstream statistics reflect right now.
On the other hand, converted reliever Aaron Sanchez of the Blue Jays has exhibited a marked loss in velocity in 2015 versus 2014. Last year, Sanchez’s fastball was flying in at an average of 97.1 MPH – a plus pitch if there ever was one. This year; however, his fastball is averaging 94.4 MPH. This is a significant drop in velocity, especially when Sanchez is still featuring this pitch over 80% of the time. It could be an adjustment perhaps, saving his strength to get through more innings, but a difference of that much velocity will change the effectiveness of any pitch. Also a concern with Sanchez recently is his control as he walked 7 batters in his last start. Those walks are part of the elevated 1.86 WHIP that Sanchez has so far this season.
MLB Betting Verdict
When the MLB odds total opened at 9.5 it got heavy action almost immediately, and is now down to 8.5 runs. That’s where I was leaning as well, with the cold Toronto bats being set up to run into another hot pitcher in Joe Kelly. However, I also like Boston at home versus a wild converted reliever trying to find his way as a starter. That line is actually moving a bit the other way, and can be found as low as -129 at 5 Dimes. I’m going to go ahead and parlay both as my MLB pick for Monday night as I think both leans have value regardless of the line moves thus far.
MLB Parlay Pick: Red Sox -135 & Under 8.5 at Pinnacle