Yesterday, Alex Verdugo led the Boston Red Sox to a win in their series opener against the Toronto Blue Jays with his third game-winning hit of the young season. He and his team will look to make it two in a row against their AL East rivals in the second game of a four-game series when they send Tanner Houck (3-1, 4.50 ERA) to the mound against Yusei Kikuchi (4-0, 3.00 ERA). First pitch is set for 7:10 p.m. ET.
The Blue Jays are -135 moneyline favorites at DraftKings Sportsbook, while the Red Sox are +115 underdogs. The total is set at 9.5.
Blue Jays-Red Sox picks: Tuesday, May 2
Out: SP Mitch White (right elbow inflammation), RP Adam Cimber (right rhomboid strain), SP Hyun Jin Ryu (Tommy John surgery)
Out: SP James Paxton (right hamstring strain), RP Joely Rodriguez (right oblique strain), SP Garrett Whitlock (right elbow ulnar neuritis), INF Yu Chang (left hamate fracture), OF Adam Duvall (distal radius fracture, left wrist)
Yusei Kikuchi vs. Tanner Houck
Kikuchi’s off to a strong start to the season, and is coming off a start where he threw 5.2 scoreless innings against the Chicago White Sox. He’s gone at least five innings and allowed one run or less in four of his five starts so far this season. He still allows a lot of hard contact (22nd percentile in hard-hit rate this year after being in the bottom one percentile last year), but he’s been commanding the strike zone well (76th percentile in walk rate and 87th percentile in chase rate), which has been a big part of his success.
After being used primarily as a reliever last season, Houck has become a rotation mainstay for the Red Sox. While Houck has yet to put together a scoreless start, he’s been a consistent presence, as he’s yet to allow more than three runs in all of his starts this year, and has gone at least five innings in all five outings.
Yesterday, these two teams snuck past this over in a wild, back-and-forth game. I’m predicting more of the same tonight. The Red Sox showed a lot of discipline at the plate last night — they only had seven strikeouts as a team — which should help them tonight against Kikuchi, while Houck’s track record of giving up runs will loom large against Toronto’s talented lineup.
Pick: Over 9.5
Nothing seemed to go right for the Blue Jays last night, as the Red Sox seemed to have a counter-punch at the ready every time Toronto had something going. Tonight’s the night they turn that around, as they’ll hold the advantage on both the mound and at the plate.
Pick: Blue Jays