DO WHAT YOU WANT WITH THIS INFORMATION: After all, it's your money....
The Boston Game Is More Likely To Exceed 9 Runs.
The drawback comes first:
Lester is actually getting his strike-outs (22/7 K/BB), but he's really missing the zone on batters and it appears that he's falling into hitter's counts on far too many occasions. He struck out 7 in a recent game, but hit 114 pitches after 6 innings of work. This makes Lester an OVER capper's worst nightmare. The surface data is showing conflicting indicators, as the high strikeout rate should show a lower pitch count over 6 innings. The high strike-out rate is a concern.
So Lester makes me worry, but I also have an Umpire with a very small strike zone tonight, so the high counts should be in place tonight, BUT!
The fear thickens with past meetings between Lester and Gerry Davis (our Ump):
Davis is a dreadfully dangerous OVER Umpire.
He's 4-0 OVER with an average of 15.8 Runs per game.
But look at Lester during his last meeting with Davis: A 6-1 Win against Cleveland! (Sept 25th LY)
So there's your warning.
Why should we have succcess in runs scored?
Boston and Cleveland both have huge success against the respective "arm slots" of the opposing pitcher. It's clearly indicated in the surface stats where Boston bats .298 (7 Runs per game) VS Right Handers and Cleveland bats .280 (7 Runs per game) VS Left Handers.
Compound that with the secondary indicators that show Carmona getting torched by Boston batters to the tune of a .393 team batting average (1.017 OPS). In 28 at bats, the Sox reached base 16 times!
Lester fares quite badly against Cleveland batters as well: .322 BA (.948 OPS)
The 6-1 game last season must have been anomolous: Look at his nice numbers!
He had just 2 hits over 6 innings! But what you don't see it that there were only 4 strikeouts and just one walk. He induced 17 of the 22 batters he faced to make contact, and that led the ball into the Batting Average on Balls in Play (BAIP) realm. A pitcher's ERA is deceptive, because it is protected by his defense, so an ace, like Burnette, may have been great looking with that tremendous Jays defense backing him up, but he will suffer with a slower Jeter and a softer defense in New York (his value is misplaced). It goes the same with reviewing the surface stats of that Lester performance from last year.
Gerry Davis forced Lester to hit the strike zone, and it was just bad luck that Cleveland didnt hit the gaps on all that contact. You can tell they were impatient with Lester, when they really didn't have to be. Stupid batting.
Clearly, if I were the manager for Cleveland, I would go right to the film of that game, to see what they should have done with this OVER Umpire.
But Wedge is an idiot, so we are at the mercy of his frontal lobe in this one...
You can grind it out with Lester, and force him to hit his spots. HE LIKES TO GET CUTE. And that's a mistake in this strike zone. Cleveland just has to remain patient and they will get into hitter's counts. BUT IF HE INDUCES CLEVELAND INTO SWINGING, then the Red Sox will crush Cleveland today, and it will be another 6-1 game, with a ton of double plays and ground outs.
The wager on the OVER is predicated on the fact that Cleveland will be more patient.
When you handicap a game like this, you have to trust the brain of the manager, and sometimes I really think these guys dont do the math.
I know this:
Carmona will get pummelled today.
I don't really feel as if he can escape this strike zone, and the patient hitting style that goes with the Red Sox. Boston loves an OVER ump. Their team batting approach is based on waiting out the pitcher. They will take a first pitch strike more than almost any team, so a pitcher with control issues (like Carmona) facing a strike zone (Like Gerry's) will see a 1-0 count early and often tonight.
Hitter's counts develop out of this dynamic.
And the Left, Right, Left, Right, Left flops at the top of the order should increase Carmona's erratic behavior. He is VERY weak VS the Left right now, so the small zone and the flip flop of batters will ruin his rhythm (or should). Look for some action from the Boston southpaws.
We would like to see a few left handers sliding into the back of the order, but it should be R,R,Switch, R.
I guess the big question is whether Lester and Carmona can induce the ground ball with a regular frequency in this strike zone?
Carmona lasted only 5 innings in the Jerry Davis Strike Zone last year, and he lucked out with 13 ground balls on over half the batters he faced, so yes, he seemed to get the induced outs he needed, but he got hit pretty hard for 5 innings with 6 hits 5 WALKS and only 2 strikeouts! So he does suffere here!
It seems as if the ball will be in play or we will see walks in this atmosphere. I don't suspect that Boston will chase Carmona all over the zone tonight. They will wait and watch, like they always do.
Let me share something with you:
The last three games for Fausto Carmona against Boston.....51 pitches per inning in the last meeting...31 pitches per inning in the next to last one.....and 25 PPI in the second to last one.
Boston scored 5,12, and 6 runs in those games.
The Final Total for the games: 9, 14, and 19
The Bullpen for Boston is getting used up at a highly dangerous rate, so you might not see a solid grouping tonight. It's VERY clear that both bullpens are NOT optimal tonight.
I can predict 5 innings or less out of Fausto, and then we get that lousy Indian Pen....I can safely say that Boston can exceed 4.5 Runs.
It is far more likely that Boston wins this game.
The UNDER should not be played.
What do you guys think.....
I'll post what I am personally wagering on when I make the play....