3* Boston Red Sox -1.5 (+115)
This may seem crazy backing the Red Sox with a 3 unit run line play, but tonight is the turning point in the young season.
Both Clay Buchholz and Brett Cecil are off to terrible starts in 2011; each has a 7.2 ERA and a 1.9 WHIP, neither has a win. If he could pick one team to throw against to get out of this funk, Buchholz would pick Toronto. He is 6-3 lifetime against the Jays with a 2.38 ERA and a 1.182 WHIP, all of which is impressive, but not when compared to his numbers against Toronto last season. He was 3-0 with 22 innings pitched, 1 earned run, and just 19 hits. He completely dominated the Blue Jays last season and I expect him to get back on track tonight.
Toronto sends Brett Cecil to the hill; he has not had similar success against the Sox. He is 2-3 in his career with a 6.51 era and a 1.77 WHIP. Although he was 2-1 against Boston last season he has an ERA over 5 in the two wins. Look for a Friday night shootout tonight, with the Red Sox winning by at least a field goal.
2* Colorado Rockies -1.5 (+145)
The Rockies continue to be on fire and yet they continue to be undervalued. This game has all the markings of a blowout: Colorado has won 6 in a row and 10 of 11, averaging almost 6 runs per game. The Cubs have lost 3 of 5, and now travel to Colorado where the have not been successful as of late. They are just 1-6 against the Rockies at Coors Field during the last 3 seasons.
Although the Rockies have won quite a few one run games this year, I do not see another close one tonight. The Cubs send Garza to the mound tonight, and he has not had the expected start to his National League career. In two starts he is 0-1 with a 7.94 ERA in 12.2 innings pitched. Although his strikeout numbers are high with 20, so are his hits allowed: also 20.
Colorado counters with Jhoulys Chacin who is 2-0 this season with one dominating performance and one adequate performance last time out. His 7 inning, 5 hit, no run gem against the dodgers happened at home, where he'll be tonight. The Rockies should roll to victory tonight.