Categories: MLB

Blue Jays vs Red Sox – MLB Pick for May 29th

Toronto Blue Jays (+183)
VS
Boston Red Sox (-197)
Total: 9.5

On Memorial Day, the Boston Red Sox made quick work of Aaron Sanchez and the Toronto Blue Jays. The Sox blasted Sanchez to the tune of 7 earned runs on 9 hits in just 5 innings of work, including a pair of home runs for J.D. Martinez and Andrew Benintendi. The Sox got a solid effort from David Price on the mound to increase their lead in the AL East over the Yankees to 2 games.

Tonight, a pair of vulnerable right-handers will take the mound. Veteran Marco Estrada will take the ball for the Jays against former Cy Young winner Rick Porcello for the Red Sox. Porcello got off to a solid start this season, but he’s hit the skids of late. The right-hander has allowed 4 or more earned runs in 3 of his last 4 outings, and Boston has gone on to lose each of those games.

His 3.44 SIERA predicts he’s actually pitched better than his 3.74 ERA would indicate, but neither is a bad number by any stretch. Porcello has stifled fellow righties this season, but left-handed hitters have given him problems. He has allowed a .311 wOBA to lefties, and all 5 home runs he’s surrendered have come off of the bats of left-handed hitters.

The Blue Jays’ lineup doesn’t have the same star power it did 2 or 3 years ago, but it’s still an underrated group of hitters. The Jays have hit the 9th most homers this year against right-handed pitching, and they’re getting a park upgrade in terms of power going into Fenway tonight. Porcello was never really as great as his 2016 season suggested, so it’s no real surprise to see the regression monster coming his way.

As for Estrada, he is a reverse-splits fly ball pitcher that struggles with home runs. Against a right-handed heavy Red Sox lineup at Fenway Park, that’s a potential recipe for disaster. Estrada struggled tremendously in his last start, allowing 4 runs on 7 hits in just 4.1 innings of work against the Angels at home. Estrada has already conceded 12 home runs in his 10 starts, fresh off of allowing 31 dingers a season ago.

Estrada has allowed a hard contact rate of 33.5 percent and his strikeout numbers have taken a dive from where we’re used to seeing them. While he’s a righty that has been more vulnerable against hitters of his own handedness, it’s not like he’s suddenly lights-out against lefties. Left-handed hitters have a .361 wOBA against him along with 4 of the 12 homers he has given up.

This has the makings of a potential shootout. Estrada is the worse of the starters in this game, but Porcello is a pitch-to-contact guy, which can yield disastrous results in such a hitter-friendly environment. The Red Sox currently rank at the top of the league in a number of offensive categories against right-handed pitching, which is a surprise to nobody given their overall talent level.

The implied total here of 9 ½ runs looks a bit low. With how powerful these offenses are, I think we see plenty of runs in this one. Take the over.

Taylor Smith

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Taylor Smith

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