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Boston Looks to Complete Sweep; Lackey Goes for 6th Straight QS

2014-06-17-holt1

How under-appreciated is Boston right-hander John Lackey? The 35-year-old takes the mound this afternoon with a 3.24 ERA and 1.21 WHIP, including a 3.25 ERA and 1.32 WHIP at home and a 3.18 ERA and 1.14 WHIP over his last three outings. Lackey’s success in 2014 is best illustrated by the fact that he has surrendered three runs or fewer in nine of his last 10 starts. Lackey’s underlying metrics fully support his peripheral numbers as he boasts a 3.24 xFIP and a 3.38 SIERA. I also like the fact that the veteran hurler has thrown five consecutive quality starts and toes the rubber with an impressive 81:18 strikeout-to-walk ratio over 94 1/3-innings pitched.

Lackey is also supported by an outstanding Boston bullpen that is ranked fourth in the Majors in ERA and first in Wins Above Replacement (WAR) entering play Tuesday. Boston’s relief corp. owns a 2.80 ERA and 1.21 WHIP in 2014, including a 2.65 ERA and 1.20 WHIP at home and a 1.47 ERA and 0.92 WHIP over the last seven games. Meanwhile, Minnesota starter Kyle Gibson is 2-4 with a 5.91 ERA and 1.42 WHIP away from the friendly confines of Target Field, although the young right-hander has garnered a 1.80 ERA and 0.95 WHIP over his last three starts. Gibson’s underlying metrics remain a concern as he owns a 4,.32 xFIP and a 4.54 SIERA.

While Gibson has never taken the mound at Fenway Park, Lackey is 9-6 with a career 3.15 ERA and 1.13 WHIP versus the Twins. In his two most recent outings against Minnesota, he allowed one earned run on seven hits in thirteen innings of work. The other issue facing the Twins is a bullpen that has struggled under the afternoon sun with a 4.80 ERA and 1.47 WHIP this season. From a technical standpoint, Minnesota is a money-burning 30-70 (-29.2 units) versus starting pitchers with an ERA of 3.50 or better, 43-95 (-34.1 units) versus starting pitchers with a WHIP of 1.30 or less and 16-53 (-27.7 units) versus starting pitchers who average 6.5 innings or more per outing. Gibson’s lack of strikeout potential (4.50 K/9; 11.9% K rate) is relevant in that the Red Sox are a perfect 10-0 against pitchers who average less than three strikeouts per start. The following trends further support our investment on the Red Sox this afternoon:

  • Boston is 24-6 in its L/30 games as a home favorite of -151 to -200;
  • Boston is 40-12 in its L/52 home games vs. teams with a losing record;
  • Boston is 9-1 in its L/10 games at home;
  • Boston is 9-0 in Lackey’s last nine home starts vs. teams with a losing record;
  • Boston is 12-5 in Lackey’s L/17 home starts

Take Boston and invest with confidence.

Oskeim Sports Free Sports Picks for Monday, June 18, 2014:

Rotation #958: Pittsburgh Pirates (-115) over Cincinnati Reds

Rotation #971: Los Angeles Angels (-113) over Cleveland Indians

Rotation #974: New York Yankees (-104) over Toronto Blue Jays

 

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