After Shane Bieber led the Cleveland Guardians to a win in the series opener at Fenway Park on Friday night, the Boston Red Sox are looking for revenge in a Saturday matinee. First pitch is set for 4:10 p.m. ET. Zach Plesac (1-1, 6.50 ERA) will go for Cleveland, while Boston has recalled top prospect Brayan Bello (0-1, 9.82).
Guardians-Red Sox picks: Saturday, April 29
Out: SP Aaron Civale (oblique), SP Triston McKenzie (shoulder), RP Sam Hentges (shoulder), SP Cody Morris (shoulder)
Out: 3B Yu Chang (wrist), RP Chris Martin (shoulder), RP Zack Kelly (elbow), OF Adam Duvall (wrist), RP Wyatt Mills (elbow), RP Joely Rodriguez (oblique), RP Jamex Paxton (hamstring), 2B Trevor Story (elbow), SS Adalberto Mondesi (knee)
Zach Plesac vs. Brayan Bello
Plesac has been plagued by the same problem as last year: For a pitcher who wants to pitch to contact, way too much of that contact has been loud. He currently sits in the bottom fifth of the league in expected batting average and average exit velocity, with a low-90s fastball that’s caught way too much of the plate and paid the price for it (.659 expected slugging percentage). The righty has given up 17 hits and seven runs (five earned) in his last two outings, both of which came against weaker competition in the Washington Nationals and Miami Marlins.
Not long after being sent back down to Triple-A due to ineffectiveness, Bello is back in Boston after Garrett Whitlock was placed on the IL. The righty was knocked around by the Los Angeles Angels and Milwaukee Brewers, but his improved command has been heartening — he spotted his slider and changeup pretty well last time out, and if that continues, the results should come around. He’s long been one of the Boston’s top prospects for a reason.
Bello could turn things around here, but the Guardians offense has turned things around recently and has among the lowest strikeout rates against righties in all of baseball. Combine that with a very hittable Plesac at Fenway Park, and that’s a recipe for the over.
Pick: Over 9
I’m banking on Bello to be at least a little bit better than his first two starts, while Plesac has given very little reason to trust him in a hitter’s park against a dangerous offense.
Pick: Red Sox