Detroit Tigers at Boston Red Sox (Game One)
First pitch: 4:10 p.m. PT
Probable pitchers: Matthew Boyd (1-1, 2.96 ERA) vs. Chris Sale (0-4, 8.50 ERA)
There’s no question Sale’s slow start has been one of the shocking developments around baseball early on but should we expect it to continue much longer?
Definitely not. The biggest issue surrounding the perennial American League Cy Young contender was his diminished velocity in his first few starts, uncharacteristically sitting with an average velocity in the low-90’s.
Sale seemingly put that to bed in his last start against the team he put to bed in last year’s postseason. His velocity was back in the upper-90’s again vs. the Yankees, and while he didn’t end up with the prettiest stat line, it was still an encouraging outing. If you watched Sale that night, you know there was a lot more good than bad.
So, with Sale harnessing his usual heat again, we can expect him to dial it up more as he tries to get past his early struggles. He’s referred to his work thus far as “flat-out embarrassing,” and being the utmost competitor, you can count on him that he’s close to turning it around.
He’ll certainly have a favorable matchup up next in effort of accomplishing that. Sale owns terrific numbers for his career against the Tigers, posting a 2.94 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and 184-42 K/BB ratio in 168.1 total innings.
The outlook for a similar performance looks good, as the offense he’ll be facing currently ranks tied for 28th opposite left-handed pitching with a .200 batting average and dead-last with a .568 OPS. They’ve homered just once with a southpaw on the hill in 70 at-bats.
With hope that Sale can resemble his usual form, his counterpart, Boyd, would only be needed for a supporting role in this under. Given that he’s on pace to be Detroit’s lone All-Star representative come mid-July, that makes this a solid bet.
Boyd has been sensational in the season’s first few weeks, pitching the Tigers into the sixth inning or deeper in all four of his starts while yielding three runs or fewer. In turn, he’s helped the under go 3-1 during his turns in the rotation.
Most impressive of all, the fifth-year lefty has been gobbling up K’s as much as any of the top strikeout artists. In fact, Boyd’s 13.32 K/9 ranks him fourth in all of baseball. As long as he can hang in there this evening, that figures to be enough.
“After this series opener was postponed yesterday, that’s something that could actually play a useful role in keeping this game at a low-scoring pace. Both starters excel when they’re on six or more days of rest.
Sale has made 33 starts under such conditions, registering a magnificent 2.25 ERA, 0.99 WHIP and 252-41 K/BB ratio in 211.2 innings. Boyd has a 3.75 ERA and 1.20 WHIP in these instances, each his best mark among any days of rest.
Fortunately, the over/under is right where I got it yesterday but it may not last there for the full duration leading up to first pitch, so grab it right away. Play: UNDER 8 (-120)
Day Before Yesterday’s Result: Nationals-Marlins Under 7 (WIN)
Zylbert’s 2019 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*: 14-11, +1.60 units
*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit
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