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Red Sox vs Rays Pick – April 23rd

We got back in the winning column yesterday with the Reds 2-1 win over the Brewers; their third straight in the series and sending Milwaukee to a staggering 2-13 start to the season. That’s pretty hard to fathom, but things just seem to keep getting worse and worse for the Brew Crew. Last night, they finally got a good starting pitching performance, only to lose in the ninth on a walk to the fastest guy in baseball (Billy Hamilton) and a subsequent wild-pitch from K-Rod to score him. Ugly stuff.

I said I thought the Reds would get Cueto the three or four runs he’d need to win. Turns out they only got him two. And he still won. We will take it and move on to today and see if we can build a little momentum heading into a good sports weekend with playoffs in two sports and some nice MLB series.

It’s get-away day today for many MLB teams, so keep in mind most games will have an afternoon start. My pick will focus on one of the lone evening matchups.

Today’s Free Pick:

Boston Red Sox +105 at Tampa Bay Rays -105 (Total: 7.5)
Clay Bucholtz (1-2, 6.06 ERA) vs. Jake Odorizzi (2-1, 1.74 ERA)

I get why the line is what it is tonight. Clay Bucholtz has been lousy, and in one of his starts (Yankees) he seemed to cash it in and not even compete. But Clay Bucholtz himself IS not lousy. And that makes him a great candidate for a regression to the mean that is ever-present in baseball. Meanwhile, his counterpart, Jake Oderizzi, has been fantastic. But the Rays generally don’t hit behind him…

Don’t be scared off by Bucholtz’s lousy 2015 numbers. He enters tonight with a 23-inning scoreless streak in Tropicana Field. He OWNS the Rays and has dominated them in grand fashion lately. I expect tonight is the perfect night for home to get back to what he is supposed to be; anchoring the pitching staff for a postseason team, and away from the rocky few starts that have marred his April. I expect Odorizzi to be good as well, but he is facing a MUCH better lineup than his own mates possess, so you have an opportunity to get a very favorable line if you like the Sox tonight. I do very much.

Odorizzi has an AL-best 0.68 WHIP, but it will be interesting to see if that climbs with the way Red Sox players work deep counts in nearly every at-bat.

I’ll take Boston and Bucholtz to get back on track tonight.

Free Pick: Boston Red Sox to WIN +105