The Cubs and Red Sox have played two fun games so far and the rubber match will be in primetime tonight on ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball. The crew will live from Fenway Park where Kyle Hendricks is set to take on Eduardo Rodriguez.
The line is pretty close to a pick but it’s the total that I’m after. It’s a 9.0 across the board with juice on the under.
Kyle Hendricks won the ERA crown last season but his 4.50 mark so far this season is hardly worthy of a guy who should pitch at the front of the rotation. Fortunately for the Cubs, Hendricks doesn’t; he began the season as Chicago’s number five.
I don’t believe he’s too far off, however. It was his first three starts that gave him trouble – 11 earned runs in 16 innings. But in those first three starts he was still giving up less than a hit per innings, which is about right for him. The seven walks were what was more uncharacteristic, especially four in his third April start against Milwaukee.
Hendricks got back with it in his last start against Philadelphia with six shutout innings against a Phillies team that went on a big winning streak immediately after.
This Boston lineup will be tough on Hendricks though; it’s disciplined and makes good contact with line drive and gap hitters. The Professor, as they call him, won’t be able to fool nearly as many guys in the Red Sox’ lineup as he does others. Guys like Betts, Bogaerts and Pedroia should stay on the ball and take what they can get against Hendricks, who doesn’t have the gas to blow any of those guys away.
Eduardo Rodriguez does have that sort of gas but he’s going up against a Cubs’ lineup that is more than willing to work the pitch count and take walks. That leads me to believe Eddie could be in for a laborious evening.
Rodriguez walked five in his last start, four before that and three in his 2017 debut. He doesn’t allow many hits (just 10 in 17 innings) but it’s tough for anybody to hold the Cubbies down for long. If he walks four or five guys tonight, he won’t get through five innings and will have allowed more than a few runs by then. If he’s locating, he has the stuff to tame one of baseball’s best lineups.
So will Boston’s bats wake up? And will Rodriguez struggle with his control again? If both answers are yes, this game is going over because neither bullpen is very good either. If one is a yes, I still think it goes over because of how much it takes out of a pitcher to shut down either offense, even with Boston’s early season struggles.
Neither starter has a particularly favorable matchup and the 9.0 is a nice number in what should be a competitive game because we just need four runs from each side to get at least a push out of it. For plus money, mine is on the over.
Free Pick: Over 9.0 (+105)