Lo Duca: Can Wright, LeBlanc Keep Rolling on Friday?
Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Wade LeBlanc
Seattle Mariners @ Boston Red Sox, 7:10 p.m. ET
- Mariners (LeBlanc) +130
- Red Sox (Wright) -145
- Over/Under: 9
Bet to Watch
Between Red Sox knuckleballer Steven Wright and Mariners junkballer Wade LeBlanc, there wasn’t a whole lot of heat at Safeco Field five days ago when they faced each other. LeBlanc’s mid-80s heater proved better than Wright’s slow knuckler that night as the Mariners won, 2-1, in a pitchers’ duel. Somehow, both of these guys have been tremendous so far this year despite their limited arsenal.
In fact, LeBlanc retired 22 in a row that day, and both hurlers dominated two of the league’s better lineups. The total that day was 8.5, so why is it 9 tonight if both pitchers have been red hot?
First of all, these are two pitchers that can baffle you the first time you face them, so the familiarity is a huge advantage for the hitters. Guys that are specialty types — like LeBlanc and Wright — are all like that. This is especially true in today’s game, where most pitchers touch 95-plus on the gun. Going from seeing that type of stuff to the junk that these guys serve can throw you off rhythm. That could be a reason LeBlanc’s fastball has the slowest exit velocity on his fastball of any pitcher in MLB.
Meanwhile, Wright has been virtually unstoppable because he’s not afraid to throw his knuckler at any time. His ERA (1.23) is getting close to the 99-cent store, so why would Vegas set this total at 9? It’s because oddsmakers know these are both trick-type pitchers and that facing the same lineup twice in five days is going to be a problem. On paper it looks like an under play, but that’s where Vegas traps you.
The Pick: Over 9 -110
Editor’s note: The opinion on this game is from the individual writer and is based on his research, analysis and perspective. It is independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.