Matchup: Boston Red Sox at St. Louis Cardinals
Date/Time: August 6, 8:15 p.m. ET
Probable Starters: BOS: Joe Kelly (First AL start) v. STL: Shelby Miller (8-8, 4.14)
Moneyline: St. Louis -141
Total: 8 100/-120
In a cruel twist of fate, Joe Kelly, who was the best man in Shelby Miller’s wedding, will take on his former team in his first start as a member of the Boston Red Sox. Miller, who was the best man in Kelly’s wedding, will be looking for just his second win since June 7. Kelly was traded to Boston with Allen Craig, who is now on the disabled list, in exchange for John Lackey on July 31. The Cardinals got to within a game of the Brewers with Sunday’s series-winning victory and stayed one game back with Tuesday’s 3-2 win against the Red Sox. The Red Sox have the third-worst record in the American League at 49-63.
It’s sure to be an emotional outing for Kelly, who made 68 appearances with the Cardinals over the last three seasons. Kelly is actually a pretty underrated pitcher all things considered. He doesn’t miss a lot of bats, but nearly 52 percent of balls in play against him in his career have been put on the ground and his offspeed stuff flashes above average swing-and-miss rates. If the Cardinals were trying to showcase Kelly in July, it didn’t go well, as he posted a 7.32 ERA over four starts covering 19.2 innings of work. The Red Sox still took a shot on Kelly, but he goes from the league’s best defensive team to a Red Sox team that has had some trouble on the infield.
Miller possesses a big right arm, but it has been a season of transition for him as he tries to learn how to pitch at the Major League level without having to strike everybody out. The learning curve has yielded a high walk rate and Miller has just 81 strikeouts in 122.1 innings of work after punching out 169 in 173.1 innings in his first full season last year. Since firing a complete game shutout against Toronto on June 7, Miller is just 1-3 with a 5.11 ERA.
Kelly will be facing the Cardinals for the first time. With the Cardinals, he was 3-4 for a loss of 0.8 units. This will be Miller’s first career start against the Red Sox. He has not had success in interleague play with a 3-4 record and a 5.28 ERA in eight interleague starts. The Cardinals are 10-11 in Miller’s 21 starts this season for a loss of 2.54 units.
Free MLB Pick: Boston
It’s difficult to lay 140 on Shelby Miller with the inconsistencies he has faced this season. Joe Kelly will have a little something extra going for him in this start against his old team in hopes that he can start his Red Sox tenure on a positive note. He knows the hitters from watching them on a daily basis and there’s not a whole lot of pressure on him because the Red Sox are in the midst of a lost season.
Adam Burke is a freelance writer and amateur handicapper with a knack for finding value through matchup analysis and a deep understanding of the sports betting market. His main area of expertise is baseball, with a background in sabermetrics and advanced statistics. He is the host of The Gridiron Gambling Report and our college football and college basketball BangTheBook.com podcasts on the BlogTalkRadio Network.