Friday’s MLB Over/Under: Paxton, Romero Kick Off Series At Safeco

Friday’s MLB Over/Under: Paxton, Romero Kick Off Series At Safeco article feature image

Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports.

It’s pretty unfortunate that we couldn’t pull out yesterday’s Orioles-White Sox under 9.5 bet with Dylan Bundy’s career-best 14-strikeout gem, as Lucas Giolito let us down with a pretty bad performance. That snaps my four-game winning streak, but I’m hopeful I can start another one with tonight’s over/under play.

Zylbert’s 2018 MLB Over/Under Betting Record: 33-19-2, +11.7 units
Yesterday’s Result: Orioles-White Sox Under 9.5, Bundy vs. Giolito (loss)
*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit

Minnesota Twins @ Seattle Mariners | O/U: 7
10:10 p.m. ET
Probable Pitchers: Fernando Romero (2-0, 1.66 ERA) vs. James Paxton (3-1, 3.30 ERA)

It’s the opener of a three-game set from Safeco Field this evening as the Twins and Mariners collide in one of the later games on the night’s slate. Each club will be getting things started with a quality starting pitcher.

There is the more-known commodity in James Paxton, who is putting the finishing touches on what has been absolutely sensational month for the sixth-year left-hander. Not only did Paxton record a brilliant 16-strikeout gem against the A’s to begin his May, he tossed his first career no-hitter — in his native Canada against Toronto, no less — in his next start. Paxton recorded his second complete game in the major leagues his last time out, rolling through the Detroit Tigers.

In other words, few are as hot as Paxton right now, and he appears to be in a solid spot to continue his groove. For one, he’ll be working in Seattle tonight, which appears to be his preference based on his numbers. In fact, Paxton’s ERA at home in 40 career starts (2.85) is nearly a full run better than in 44 career away assignments (3.71). That tendency has been on display in 2018, as Paxton has allowed two runs or fewer in all three of his outings at Safeco Field since an inauspicious season debut.

Paxton has also enjoyed success against the majority of Minnesota’s key hitters. The likes of Brian Dozier, Max Kepler, Logan Morrison and Eduardo Escobar are a combined 4-for-25 (.160) versus the southpaw, who has gone 2-1 with a 2.91 ERA in four career meetings against the Twins. Yes, he’ll have to deal with the return of Miguel Sano tonight, but Sano could be rusty at the dish in his first game back from the disabled list.

As for the other hurler in this matchup, that would involve the newest iteration of Fernandomania. Maybe that’s going too far, as Minnesota’s rookie right-hander may turn out to be nothing like Fernando Valenzuela, but Fernando Romero has looked pretty impressive in the early going of his first tenure in the big leagues.

Romero is getting set to make his fifth career start, and in the first four, he was a boon for under bettors, pitching to a 3-1 record for unders. He played a large role in that, yielding a combined one run in his first three outings over 16.2 innings. The Brewers finally got to him in his most recent outing, as he allowed four runs (three earned) over five, including his first home run surrendered. But don’t let that deter you from the 23-year-old’s potential.

A highly ranked prospect coming into the season, Romero has exhibited similarities to hard-throwing teammate Jose Berrios, as he’s able to consistently hit the high-90’s with his velocity. He relies heavily on his fastball (63.2% of the time) and can also work in an effective slide-piece and changeup. Romero hasn’t been a mega strikeout guy during his time in the major leagues, hovering around one punchout per inning, but thus far, he’s recorded 9.14 K/9. He’s also apparently kept opposing batters off balance, as hitters have managed just a .189 average against Romero.

Another key item that can aid us in this under is that Seattle’s offense is a bit limited right now. Of course, there is no Robinson Cano, who was recently suspended 80 games. Nelson Cruz is in there, but reports are that he’s playing hurt. This could help Romero churn out another quality effort.

The total is a half-run lower than I expected, sitting at 7, but it would do you no harm if you waited up until first pitch to see if the line will go up to 7.5. Even if we don’t get that desired line movement, it’s still an under worth wagering to kick off your Memorial Day Weekend.

Play: UNDER 7/7.5