Thursday’s MLB Over/Under: Will A’s and Jays Bring Out the Bats?

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Pictured: Blue Jays pitcher Aaron Sanchez. Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

Always nice to pick up an over/under win with one of your favorite pitchers, as yesterday’s White Sox-Pirates Under 8 victory propelled me to 4-1 this season when backing the Pirates’ Jameson Taillon. With that said, let’s move on to Thursday and try to keep the momentum going into the weekend.

Zylbert’s 2018 MLB Over/Under Betting Record: 28-16-2, +10.1 units

Yesterday’s Result: White Sox-Pirates Under 8 (WIN)

*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit


Oakland Athletics @ Toronto Blue Jays | O/U: 9.5

7:07 p.m. ET

Probable Pitchers: Andrew Triggs (3-1, 5.31 ERA) vs. Aaron Sanchez (2-3, 4.08 ERA)

Since becoming a full-time starting pitcher for the Blue Jays, Sanchez has been very fortunate based on his relatively high Fielding Independent Pitching (FIP) marks. In laymen’s terms, that means the five-year veteran has posted better numbers than one might expect.

Even in his breakout campaign two years ago, when Sanchez was 15-2 with a 3.00 ERA, he still had an FIP that registered more than a half-run higher than that at 3.55. And that’s the smallest contrast we’ve seen from the 25-year-old. Predictably, his performance has decreased since, as Sanchez has consistently dealt with injury. In fact, he went on the disabled list a whopping four times last year.

When he was healthy, he did not look like the pitcher he was in 2016. Sanchez ended up going 1-3 in eight starts last year with a 4.25 ERA and an ugly 1.72 WHIP, as opponents hit .288 off the right-hander. Alarmingly, he also registered a 5.74 FIP.

In 2018, it’s been more of the same while already matching last season’s workload (eight starts). He’s 2-3 with a respectable 4.08 ERA, but also sports a glaring 4.89 FIP. All of this points to a regression for the Toronto hurler, as his numbers continue to be considerably lower than when they were two seasons ago. Compared to then, his strikeouts are down (6.22 K/9) and the walks (4.86 BB/9) are up. That’s not ideal.

Triggs has not been so fortunate midway into May, as his FIP (4.79) is actually lower than his ERA (5.31). Even so, that’s still not good, and Triggs has been trending downward since a trio of positive outings to begin his season. In his past five starts, he has a 7. 01 ERA. For the season, he’s already surrendered seven home runs, which is just two short of the total he allowed last year in 12 assignments.

Triggs could find some difficulty, then, when he’s on the mound at Rogers Centre. The Blue Jays have cranked 59 long balls thus far, tied for the second-most in MLB, and their 212 runs rank fourth in all of baseball. Furthermore, they’re tied for fifth among all teams in dingers at home with 30, adding to the belief that it might be tougher for a road pitcher to work in hitter-friendly Toronto compared to most stadiums.

Oakland’s lineup is no slouch, either. Just like the Jays, they rank top-10 overall in both runs scored (10th) and homers (tied for seventh). By the way, 41 of their 55 taters have come on the road, which is the most in the majors.

Regarding the line, you’re going to want to wait as long as possible to see if the over/under will budge. It can be pretty crucial getting an over at 9 instead of 9.5 — which saves you in the popular event of a 6-3/5-4 outcome — and you have nothing to lose by waiting, as I don’t see it touching 10. If it doesn’t go down to 9, I still recommend this over wager at 9.5, but wait until first pitch.

Play: OVER 9/9.5

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