Blue Jays at Red Sox MLB Pick September 13
Last night, the Boston Red Sox became the first big league team to crack the 100-win mark this season with their 1-0 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays. The Sox are now an incredible 100-46 on the season, 10 games ahead of the second place New York Yankees in the AL East. Barring a crazy collapse over the season’s final couple of weeks, the Red Sox will enter the postseason with home field advantage through the World Series, if they’re fortunate enough to advance that far.
Manager Alex Cora can essentially use the last few weeks of the season to get some of his key players some necessary rest. He’s been rolling out his usual lineup over the last several games, but Boston’s mini 3-game winning streak combined with the Yankees’ recent slump has given the team more breathing room than they’ve had all year to this point.
The Red Sox will look to finish off a 3-game sweep of the Blue Jays Thursday night with Eduardo Rodriguez taking the mound. Right-hander Sam Gaviglio will take the ball for Toronto.
Rodriguez has been dogged by injuries this season, but when he’s been healthy he has largely been excellent. The southpaw boasts a record of 12-4 with a 3.64 ERA through his first 21 starts on the year. Rodriguez also has a 3.70 SIERA, so the aforementioned ERA is no fluke. E-Rod has a strong 26.1 percent strikeout rate on the year, and he has been better about walks than he’s been in years past, too.
Rodriguez is a fly ball pitcher, and fly balls at Fenway Park have a way of turning into home runs. He has allowed 14 homers already this year, which is essentially the lone blemish on his 2018 résumé to this point. The left-hander has allowed a low hard contact rate of 26.8 percent, and his soft contact rate north of 20 percent is quite impressive.
The Blue Jays can throw plenty of right-handed hitters at him, but Rodriguez has actually had reverse splits in his career. There’s a very real chance Rodriguez sees 9 right-handed hitters in this Toronto lineup, which plays right into his hands. There are some solid bats here (Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Justin Smoak, Randal Grichuk, etc.), but the Jays also have a team strikeout rate over 22 percent this season against left-handed pitching. This is a favorable matchup for Rodriguez, despite the fact that Fenway is one of the best hitters’ parks in the major leagues.
As for Gaviglio, he hasn’t been particularly good this season. The former Mariner has a 5.25 ERA, which is pretty awful. His 4.07 SIERA suggests he’s been far more league average than his bad ERA might tell you, but neither number is that good. His 20.8 percent K-rate is about average, as well. Gaviglio has done a fine job of keeping the ball on the ground (47.4 percent GBs), and his walk rate of 6.7 percent isn’t egregious by any means.
While Gaviglio has pitched better than his ERA might tell you, he gets what may be the most difficult matchup for a pitcher in all of baseball tonight when he goes into Fenway to take on the Red Sox. Gaviglio has allowed a .364 wOBA to left-handed hitters this season and a .331 wOBA to right-handed hitters. He has also yielded 19 home runs so far this season, 10 of which have come off the bats of righties.
As a team, the Red Sox have the highest wOBA (.345) in the big leagues against right-handed pitching as well as the best wRC+ (114). Gaviglio isn’t a big strikeout guy to begin with, and the Boston lineup Ks at an 18.8 percent rate against RHPs, which is the lowest mark in the majors. The Sox have also mashed 153 homers this season against righties, which is the second-most in the bigs behind the Yankees. So, yeah, this is a pretty good Boston offense.
This looks like a lopsided matchup, so just take the Red Sox to cover the runline here tonight.
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