David Price battled last night, pitching through a rough start to give his team a chance to win the game with any sort of offensive showing against Lance Lynn.
The offense let him down and the Sox suffered their second consecutive loss in their current series at Target Field and their fourth loss in five games, overall. To make matters worse, the Yankees came back from a 5–0 deficit to win it on a Giancarlo Stanton walk-off home run on a two-out, two-strike pitch in the ninth inning.
Four games back in the loss column and facing a sweep on the road, Boston sends Rick Porcello to the mound in the finale on Thursday afternoon.
Aside from his Cy Young season in 2016, Porcello is having his best season on record, in terms of ERA+ (118), hits allowed and homers allowed. He’s also striking out more batters (8.7) per nine innings than ever before, even including 2016.
But all of those numbers were also better six weeks ago than they are now. Porcello come out hot, hot in his first seven starts and posted five wins without a loss and a 2.14 ERA. It was no coincidence he that he had just two home runs allowed to his name at that point.
Fast-Forward to now and he’s made eight starts, given up five runs twice, four runs twice, three runs once and two runs in the other three games. His ERA is 3.70, his record 8–3 and he’s given up six homers in those eight starts, not one of which has lasted seven full innings.
It hasn’t been bad; Porcello has thrown at least six innings in all three of his starts this month, including a win over Houston and a tough no-decision against a hot Mariners team. But the point is that he is resembling something between what he was last season and what he was both the season before and in April this year.
Kyle Gibson, meanwhile, is undoubtedly enjoying his best season as a Major Leaguer. It wasn’t so long ago that he was a name I was looking to fade every five days. Now, he’s got a 3.27 ERA in 14 starts, nine of which he’s finished with no more than two runs allowed. It could be argued he’s Minnesota’s best and most reliable starting pitcher at the moment. He’s coming off seven innings of three-hit, one-run ball against Cleveland last weekend.
Until Boston drops off its pace, it’ll always be a reasonable time to consider fading the Sox. On the road, with Mookie Betts and JD Martinez both a little quiet lately, his looks like an even better opportunity than that. I give the Twins a small edge in the pitching matchup and, at home with two wins under their belts in the series, I like them with a gun to my head and even better as small underdogs.
This is a combined play between the moneyline and the runline so we can’t win with a Minnesota loss but we’re going to make Boston beat the Twins by two at least.
Play: Minnesota +1 (-114)