Friday’s MLB Over/Under: Will Syndergaard and Newcomb Deliver the Goods in Atlanta?
If you never knew why many people have called me “The Cat” for years, last night’s Pirates-Phillies Under 7.5 play was a very good example, as we had to scratch and claw all game to pull out the half-run victory. That’s just what I do. Jameson Taillon had a rare off outing, as he got us under bettors into a 5-0 hole in the bottom of the second, though that was more bad luck than anything. In any event, we managed to capture vintage Jake Arrieta, and Phillies reliever Victor Arano closed it out. Arano has faced 25 batters and retired all of them without allowing a single baserunner. Now let’s move on to the weekend.
Zylbert’s 2018 MLB Over/Under Betting Record: 14-4-1, +9.7 units
Yesterday’s Result: Pirates-Phillies Under 7.5, Taillon vs. Arrieta (WIN)
*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit
New York Mets @ Atlanta Braves
7:35 p.m. ET
Probable Pitchers: Noah Syndergaard (2-0, 2.95 ERA) vs. Sean Newcomb (1-1, 4.02 ERA)
What’s not to like in this pitching matchup? Syndergaard is as reliable as any starting pitcher in all of baseball, and we really still haven’t seen his best work yet even though he has racked up his usual high number of Ks, with 33 in only 21.1 innings. At the same time, he hasn’t gone past six innings in a start yet, although that has more to do with him getting into high pitch-count situations. That is something he can absolutely fix right away.
The Mets right-hander, otherwise known as Thor, is coming off a season-high, 11-strikeout outing against the Brewers in which he also yielded a season-low three baserunners. So, not only is he at his peak in terms of confidence and momentum, he’ll also be in a spot that could lead to another sharp effort. Syndergaard has made two starts previously in Atlanta, registering a 3.27 ERA, 1.00 WHIP, .205 batting average against and an 11/3 K/BB ratio in the pair of no-decisions.
With the Braves shockingly leading the National League in runs scored (104) thus far, you have to believe that starts to regress more toward their norm, and Syndergaard is fully capable of making that happen as long as he is in his usual rhythm. Based on his results through his first four starts, that appears to be exactly the case.
Now that we know we can trust Syndergaard, what about his counterpart this evening in Newcomb?
Well first of all, while the Mets are fourth in the NL in runs scored (88) and OPS (.736), they’ve been pretty dreadful against left-handed pitching, which plays into the hands of Newcomb. New York is tied for 24th in team batting average (.218) versus lefties, and perhaps more indicative of their struggles in that department, they’ve homered only once off a left-hander in 133 at-bats. That’s the worst ABs/HR mark against southpaws in all of baseball.
Furthermore, despite being in just his second year in the bigs, Newcomb has already established a solid track record opposing this division rival. He faced the Mets three times last year, and although he was 1-2 in those starts, he did compile a 2.70 ERA and .222 batting average against, while striking out 22 compared to seven walks over 16.2 innings. We’ll gladly take something in line with that being opposite a top hurler such as Syndergaard.
Just in general, you have to like the trajectory of Newcomb — someone who was previously in the conversation of the game’s top prospects. And given Newcomb’s past couple of outings, it appears he’s starting to harness his significant potential. Compared to last season, his strikeout rate (12.64 K/9) is up and walk rate (4.60 BB/9) is down, and he’s still pitched respectably despite really bad luck on balls put in play (.359 BABIP). That should skewer back down sooner than later, providing more optimism that Newcomb can continue trending up.
In regard to the current over/under line of 7.5, you’ll definitely want to attempt to wait that out in hopes of it ballooning to 8. The under right now is +105, which indicates a fine chance that the total will indeed go up. If it does just that, it will be one of my biggest bets on the young season. Even if it doesn’t, Under 7.5 or 8 is still a strong play.
Play: UNDER 7.5/8