Toronto Blue Jays +137 at Boston Red Sox -147 (Total: 10.5)
Henderson Alvarez (3-6, 4.30 ERA) vs. Felix Doubront (8-3, 4.31 ERA)
It was a classy scene at Fenway Park yesterday afternoon, when the crowd, clearly understanding that Youkalis was removed from the game because he had just been traded, stood and applauded and demanded the nine-year veteran come out for a curtain call. The often cantankerous and demanding crowd showered one of the long-time deserving favorites with sincere affection and appreciation. After being part of several championships and being one of the toughest outs in all of major league baseball, the gratitude was well deserved.
From a baseball standpoint, it makes sense. “Youk” has had trouble staying healthy, and Will Middlebrooks has emerged as the clear third baseman of the future and needs to be playing every day. He’ll get that chance from now on, starting tonight with a visit from the slumping Blue Jays.
Let’s just politely say that tonight is not a pitching matchup for the ages; if last night’s Sabathia v. Dickey captivated pitching fans, at least tonight should pique the curiosity of fans of offense. Both pitchers enter tonight with ERAs hovering in the 6.50 range over their last three starts. Both have been better than that over the season, with ERAs in the low-fours, but neither is an automatic shutdown guy.
The obvious difference in run support is evident in the two starting pitcher’s won/loss records. With identical ERAs, one pitcher is 8-3 while the other is just 3-6. In case anyone is still placing a lot of credence in wins and losses for starting pitchers… It makes pretty good sense overall. The Red Sox are hitting .268 as a team and averaging a healthy 5.35 runs per game. What is a little more surprising is the bad luck Alvarez has received. The Jays are a solid offensive ballclub as well, hitting .248 and averaging just a shade fewer than 5 runs a game themselves.
These two teams have been remarkably even over their past six matchups, splitting three games apiece and each scoring 23 runs. That is what makes tonight’s line so appealing to me. We’ve hit a snag of bad luck this week on Sportsgeek, dropping a fistful of one-run games. However, with a strong positive-money tally for the season, I am sticking with my mantra of finding good value lines and taking strong money wagers. Getting any relatively even matchup at +130 or above is a good plan long term. You can win 38% of your games and STILL make money. And after all, that’s the goal right?
With that said, I’m going with Toronto tonight at +138. I’m not opposed to the OVER, but I like the Jays with the value pick tonight.
Free Pick: Toronto Blue Jays to WIN +138