The easiest bet in baseball this season has been taking whoever James Shields is pitching against. The Red Sox occupy that slot for this 6-23 free MLB pick. Is the right-hander due for a resurrection – or does the tail slide continue as his career winds down?
The Boston Red Sox Pick
Boston isn’t exactly closing out this home series against the White Sox with guns blazing. In fact, Chicago has taken the first three games and is looking for the rare 4-game road sweep. The Red Sox are slumping as a whole, having lost 3 of 7 to fall 2.0 games behind Baltimore in the AL East.
They’ll turn to Rick Porcello today to try and avoid the broom sticks at Fenway. Porcello is 8-2 on the year with a 3.76 ERA. This is his first matchup with the White Sox this season, but he’s 10-8 lifetime with a 4.09 ERA all time against the pale hose. Porcello needs to pitch deep into the game to keep the ball out of the hands of the Red Sox bullpen, which gave up 4 runs in the 8th and 9th last night that led to an 8-6 Chicago win. That’s been the story of the season lately for Porcello, who achieved 4 straight no-decisions before finally getting a 6-2 win last time out against Seattle.
If the White Sox offense is clicking for this 6-23 free MLB pick, look for Melky Cabrera to lead the charge. He was not only 4-5 against Boston last night with 4 RBI, he’s hitting a whopping .560 lifetime against Porcello. As a whole Chicago hits Porcello well, batting .340 as a team.
Don Cooper is convinced James Shields will slow down, work thru issues, but Fenway(2-9, 5.42) tough place for Shields to reboot
— Peter Gammons (@pgammo) June 23, 2016
Can the White Sox Win In Spite of Shields?
To complete the sweep Thursday the Chicago offense will likely have to plate 6-8 runs which puts the total of 10 runs a pretty good play for the day. Shields has just been Little League – style bad over his past 4 outings (3 with Chicago, 1 with San Diego). He’s given up 31 ER in those 4 starts (31!) and has pitched only 11 innings total. Another reason to lean towards the over is because the combined runs in those 4 starts have been 20,15,19, and 15. Opposing pitchers must get a little lackadaisical when they’re hurling with a 7-0 lead after an inning.
It’s hard to take career statistics into play for Boston hitters today, mostly because Shields has had such a solid career before this season. The Red Sox are hitting .289 as a team against Shields but only David Ortiz (.300), Dustin Pedroia (.293), and Hanley Ramirez (.265) have more than 4 career plate appearances against him.
The 6-23 Free MLB Pick
If the White Sox can somehow continue their hot streak against Boston, we’re looking at a pretty good payout of +210 on the ML. The over is also looking nice, especially with the teams combining for 14 runs last night. Still, we’ll rely on the badness of Shields to continue and for Porcello to hand a big lead over to the Boston bullpen. The -235 ML has only went up slightly from it’s -230 opening which makes you leery but the best value is in the run line.
6-23 Free MLB Pick Boston -1.5 (-135)
Just how bad is James Shields? In many statistical areas, both standard & advanced, it’s the worst 4-game stretch in MLB history. Yikes.
— Carmen DeFalco (@CarmenDeFalco) June 19, 2016