Clay Buchholz’s spectacular season will continue when his Boston Red Sox host the Philadelphia Phillies on Monday. Overall, Buchholz is having a magnificent year, going 7-0 with a 1.73 ERA through ten starts. Though Fenway Park can be hard on pitchers, his splits there – 4-0 with a 2.01 ERA in six starts – are more than solid. The Phillies have very little experience against him (only three hitters: Michael Young, Delmon Young and Ben Revere have ever faced him). This will work to Buchholz’s advantage as the Philadelphia batters try to adjust to his arsenal of pitches.
The Phillies give Tyle Cloyd the start. Cloyd has been pretty lucky this season as hitters have posted a batting average below what is expected on balls put in play. (Typically, hitter will bat about .300 when they put the ball in play; against Cloyd that average is .263, which means he’s had good fortune when it comes to balls finding his fielders’ gloves.) Historically, Cloyd has been a pitcher who yields a lot of fly balls, which may be an issue against a Red Sox team that is above average in the American League in hitting home runs. Pick Boston to prevail.
A good opportunity to play the unders will present itself in Kansas City, where the St. Louis Cardinals visit the Royals. Despite a 2-5 record, Kansas City starter James Shields has pitched very well this season. He has a 2.47 ERA and has logged two complete games. He’s been most brilliant at home, where he has a 1.97 ERA in four starts. But most important, he’s also been consistent, having thrown a quality start (six innings or more pitched; three runs or less allowed) in nine of his ten 2013 starts.
Cardinals starter Adam Wainwright is also in the midst of a strong campaign. He has a 2.38 ERA and, like Shields, very rarely has an off day. He’s also logged a quality start in nine of his ten appearances this season. The reliability of these two pitchers to post strong outings suggests that a total score under 7.5 runs is very likely. Take the under at 1.78.