Saturday’s MLB Over/Under: Will Hill Cash First Under of ’18 Opposite Scherzer?
Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Dodgers pitcher Rich Hill.
Tough loss to swallow last night in our Yankees-Royals Over 9 bet, as there were plenty of hard-hit balls tagged throughout the duration of the contest, but as Yankees broadcaster John Flaherty correctly put it, “It was just one of those nights.” And with that, we move on to Saturday.
Zylbert’s 2018 MLB Over/Under Betting Record: 29-17-2, +9.9 units
Yesterday’s Result: Yankees-Royals Over 9 (loss)
*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit
Los Angeles Dodgers @ Washington Nationals | O/U: 7
8:05 p.m. ET
Probable Pitchers: Rich Hill (1-2, 6.20 ERA) vs. Max Scherzer (7-1, 1.69 ERA)
To nobody’s surprise, Max Scherzer is off to another phenomenal start in 2018. Entering the latter half of today’s doubleheader between the Dodgers and Nationals, the reigning NL Cy Young Award winner is 7-1 with a league-leading 1.69 ERA — his second-best mark ever through his first nine starts. His ranks amongst all qualified starters in baseball are as follows: first in wins (seven), fourth in WHIP (0.82), third in batting average against (.167), fifth in K/BB (7.00) and first in K/9 (13.96).
By backing the under here, we’re getting one of the best pitchers in the game and asking him to just contribute one of his regular outings. After all, the 33-year-old has remarkably surrendered no more than two runs in any of his nine starts.
Relevant to tonight’s assignment, Scherzer actually faced these same Dodgers last month, striking out nine and walking three over six innings of one-run ball. Considering he’s working from home in this one, he’ll technically be in a better spot to post even better numbers than those. Scherzer has allowed a grand total of five runs combined over his four starts at Nationals Park, recording a 1.57 ERA, 0.56 WHIP and .116 BAA in the process.
Of course, on paper, that’s the easier portion of this under, as the other hurler in this matchup has seen the over go 5-0 in his starts. For this bet to cash, we’re also going to need a positive contribution from veteran left-hander Rich Hill, who will be starting this evening after having to depart early in his last game after — what else — blister issues. In recent memory, no pitcher has dealt with more finger-related ailments than this Dodger lefty, who luckily appears to be healthy now and will be in a position to get back into form.
Normally, the Nationals aren’t a lineup one would want to face when getting back on track, but after deploying pretty much their regular starting lineup in the opener of today’s double dip, we figure to get a somewhat downgraded version of the batting order with Hill on the hill. That means the likes of dead-bats Andrew Stevenson, Pedro Severino, Moises Sierra and perhaps Wilmer Difo will factor in, which is what we want.
In addition, Hill was actually looking strong before he had to exit his last outing. Despite it ultimately resulting in a loss to the Reds last Sunday, Hill came within one out of putting the finishing touches on a quality start. At the very least, it was his best outing since his first assignment of the season, which shows progress.
The 38-year-old should also benefit from Washington’s woes opposite left-handed pitching this year. The Nats are hitting just .227 against southpaws (24th in baseball), and their .673 OPS in this department ranks 26th. Perhaps that is why Hill has had some success against this team since coming over to LA. He beat the Nats in his lone start against them last year with five innings of one-hit baseball, and also looked pretty good facing Washington in the postseason in 2016, when he struck out 13 in his two playoff starts, spanning seven innings.
You might as well wait to see if this line will inflate to 7.5, since it has no chance of going in the opposite direction. But if it doesn’t move off 7, this is still an under play worth riding.
Play: UNDER 7