Friday’s MLB Over/Under: Will Buehler and Lucchesi Continue Rookie Success?
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
Always cool to win an over/under that involves a guy making his first career major-league start, which was the case last night with Adam Plutko in the Blue Jays-Indians game (over 10). We’re hungry for more, though, so let’s get on to the weekend.
Zylbert’s 2018 MLB Over/Under Betting Record: 20-11-2, +7.9 units
Yesterday’s Result: Blue Jays-Indians Over 10, Biagini vs. Plutko (WIN)
*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit
Los Angeles Dodgers @ San Diego Padres | O/U: 8
9:10 p.m. ET (MLB Network)
Probable Pitchers: Walker Buehler (1-0, 1.80 ERA) vs. Joey Lucchesi (3-1, 2.78 ERA)
The future of the Dodgers’ and Padres’ starting pitching staffs will be on full display tonight, ladies and gentlemen. I am very surprised to see the over/under listed at 8 for this series opener, which is taking place in Monterrey, Mexico.
Last weekend, I jumped the gun on my first under bet involving Walker Buehler, and while I was soundly defeated on that wager, it had nothing to do with the 23-year-old right-hander, who contributed another solid five-inning outing in dispatching the Giants. He allowed only a pair of runs, striking out six and walking one.
This followed his first career major-league start five days earlier during which Buehler shut out Miami over five frames while fanning five.
This guy is the real deal. He can touch triple digits on the radar gun, boasting an average velocity that sits around 98 mph. His curveball is a really strong pitch, too, with tricky 12-to-6 action. He’ll be in a prime spot to make it three nice starts in a row, drawing a Padres lineup that continues to rank near the bottom in several major offensive categories.
Most glaring, San Diego is 27th in MLB in team batting average (.229) and 28th in OPS (.669). The Padres are also without one of their best hitters (Wil Myers), starting catcher (Austin Hedges) and arguably their top power hitter (Hunter Renfroe). The drop-off between Hedges and dead-bat backup A.J. Ellis is significant. The Padres have also struck out more than any lineup in the game — 324 times to be exact, or once every 3.35 at-bats. That’s not a good omen for an offense that’s about to tangle with a strikeout pitcher.
Another key: This will be the first time Buehler has job security. After Hyun-Jin Ryu was placed on the disabled list, with a target return date after the All-Star break, the Dodgers announced that this former first-round draft pick would take the lefty’s spot within the rotation. For once, Buehler doesn’t have to worry about simply making spot starts, and that can make a difference for someone capable of breaking out. Buehler figures to keep rolling along.
Speaking of breakouts, you can’t deny the talent of Padres rookie Joey Lucchesi, who might be the club’s lone All-Star representative if we were on the verge of the Midsummer Classic. He’s surrendered three earned runs or fewer in all but one of his six outings. In the process, he’s accumulated 35 strikeouts compared to 10 walks in his 32.1 innings.
So why should we feel confident that Lucchesi can keep it going against the Dodgers? Well, this team has a hard time with left-handers. In fact, just two years ago, Los Angeles finished in dead last in team batting average versus southpaws (.213) by a mile. Last season, they got up to the middle of the pack, hitting .253, but have regressed again in 2018, sitting 22nd with a .226 mark. Additionally, their 58.2 AB/HR against lefties has them ranked 28th. Lucchesi has given up only three homers so far.
Oh, and the Dodgers’ injuries considerably limit their offensive ceiling. Corey Seager just recently went down for the year — a huge blow — while Yasiel Puig is currently on the DL. With Justin Turner and Logan Forsythe also still out, this is an offense Lucchesi can handle with effectiveness.
Get your under 8 action as soon as you can, as this matchup only has potential to go back down to 7.5. At 8, however, we have the luxury of being able to survive any 5-3 or 6-2 outcome. The way these emerging young hurlers are going right now, though, we may end up with room to spare.
Play: UNDER 8 (-110)