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Red Sox vs Diamondbacks – 4/7/19 MLB Pick, Odds, and Predictions

Boston Red Sox vs Arizona Diamondbacks MLB Baseball Sunday, April 7, 2019 (4:10pm et) Current Odds: Arizona -102, Total Runs 9.5

Boston manager Alex Cora, with his team still looking for a victory from a starting pitcher, won’t panic, won’t deviate from his plan.

And his plan has long been to use a sixth starter at the end of what has turned into a miserable 11-game, season-opening road trip that ends Sunday afternoon against the Arizona Diamondbacks.

So instead of asking ace Chris Sale to try to salvage the final game of a three-game series in Phoenix, Boston will use swingman Hector Velazquez as a means to build in extra early rest for its starters, with Sale pushed back for the home opener Tuesday against Toronto.

Boston’s starting pitchers have an ERA of 9.13 in 10 games, which is the main culprit in a 2-8 start for the reigning World Series champions.

“There’s no frustration,” Cora said after Saturday’s game. “We just keep grinding. We show up tomorrow, hopefully we have a happy flight, go home, see the family on Monday, hang out with your kids and all that.”

Cora’s mood didn’t necessarily match the temperature of the rest of the locker room.

“It’s frustrating. Everybody in here is frustrated,” starting pitcher David Price said via MassLive.com. “We’ve been through a lot together, this group of guys over the last two and three years. So we’ll be OK. I think everybody in here understands that.”

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Velazquez has started 11 games among his 58 appearances for Boston in the past two-plus seasons, including working out of the bullpen in long relief in three games this season, with a 4.76 ERA in 5 2/3 innings.

He has a 2-3 record and 4.43 ERA in his 11 starts, pitching more than five innings on only two occasions. He has never pitched against the Diamondbacks.

Arizona will counter with 30-year-old rookie Merrill Kelly, who spent the past three seasons pitching in the Korea Baseball Organization. Kelly, who grew up in nearby Scottsdale and played at Arizona State, will be pitching in front of friends and family at Chase Field for the first time after making his major league debut at the San Diego Padres on Monday.

Kelly (1-0) was solid against the Padres, going six innings and allowing three runs, five hits and walking two. He struck out three in a 10-3 victory.

The Diamondbacks, expected to struggle offensively after losing Paul Goldschmidt via trade and A.J. Pollock to free agency, have scored at least five runs in eight of their nine games. A two-out single by Carson Kelly gave the D-backs a 5-4 walk-off win on Saturday night.

“We had the big ninth. That was a big moment for this team,” said Arizona manager Torey Lovullo. “Just to see the excitement from these guys and see how much they were getting after it, it was a huge reward for the effort we put into this game.”

Kelly, a 24-year-old who came over from the St. Louis Cardinals in the Goldschmidt trade, isn’t likely to play Sunday afternoon after a night game, but he’s hitting .308 and will be a big part of Arizona’s season.

“I see a bat that is finally getting a consistent opportunity,” Lovullo said. “He is embracing the role and he can impact the game. … He steps up there unfazed with a great heartbeat in the ninth inning and delivers a key hit. He’s finally getting a chance to explore what he can do offensively.”

411Winners Pick and Prediction: Red Sox Total Runs Over 4.5

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