Baseball is a funny sport sometimes. The Kansas City Royals entered this week as the most dominating and only unbeaten team in baseball. They were set for a series against the offensively-deficient and worst team in baseball the Minnesota Twins. So of course, the Twins promptly score eleven runs the last two days and win both games after losing six of their first seven while scoring a grand total of ten runs in the process. Momentum is an overrated thing in baseball, and sometimes momentum is only as good as the next day’s starting pitcher.
So which team can get on a roll tonight? Or perhaps more importantly, which starting pitcher has a favorable matchup (and a generous line) to notch a winner tonight?
Several really good series start tonight including the White Sox and Jeff Samardzjia trying to derail the mighty Tigers and David Price this afternoon and the Orioles and the Red Sox in a big AL East matchup and Johnny Cueto and Michael Wacha putting their sub-one WHIPs against each other in a good Reds/Cardinals NL Central grudge match.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Baltimore Orioles +105 at Boston Red Sox -111 (Total: 8.5)
Ubaldo Jimenez (1-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Joe Kelly (1-0, 1.29 ERA)
So which Ubaldo Jimenez will we see tonight in Fenway Park? The Ubaldo Jimenez that went 6-9 with an ERA approaching five that was relegated to the bullpen? Or the one we saw in his first start that went seven one-hit scoreless innings with eight strikeouts that resembled the pitcher the Orioles spent $50 million to acquire?
He will have his work cut out for him today against the Red Sox. They have scored 22 runs in their first three home games and Jimenez has a lifetime 1-3 record with a 9.37 ERA. Some of those starts were a while ago, but suffice it to say a trip to Fenway may not be in his best interests.
Joe Kelly also looked very good in his opener after returning from a short DL stint with shoulder tightness, allowing just a single run and striking out eight over seven innings Saturday against the Yankees. The Orioles are a more dangerous offense, but I think Kelly will handle his business again tonight. He won’t shut them completely out, but don’t be surprised to see him rack up another good strikeout total.
The line is pretty favorable for the heavy-hitting Sox at home against a pitcher that has struggled against them mightily. I’ll take Boston at home to put up enough runs to give Kelly the support he needs to win.