Friday’s MLB Total: What to Make of Perdomo vs. McCullers
Neither starter looked too effective in yesterday’s Rangers-Athletics over 9 bet, but thanks to some fine bullpen work (and a late Shin-Soo Choo homer), we ultimately had to settle for a push. No harm, no foul, so we continue into the weekend with the same momentum.
Zylbert’s 2018 MLB Over/Under Betting Record: 5-1-1, +3.8 units
Yesterday’s Result: Perez vs. Mengden Over 9 (Push)
*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit
San Diego Padres @ Houston Astros
8:10 p.m. ET
Probable Pitchers: Luis Perdomo vs. Lance McCullers
There were only a handful of starting pitchers around baseball who recorded 10 or more strikeouts in their first start of the new campaign. Lance McCullers was one of them in an impressive victorious outing on the road in Texas, as he looks poised to put together a season that would place him on the All-Star team for the second consecutive year.
There’s no denying the potential of this 24-year-old righty. Although his career record is surprisingly just 20-16, McCullers has battled injury issues over the years, limiting him to no more than 22 starts in a season. When he’s been healthy, though, he’s flashed moments of dominance, as evident in the stellar 10.26 K/9 rate he holds in 59 career starts.
McCullers isn’t just a strikeout artist; he also does a good job of keeping the ball in the yard. Last season, he surrendered only 0.61 HR/9, which would have ranked him second in baseball had he pitched enough innings to qualify. Nonetheless, his 118.2 innings pitched a year ago is still a pretty good sample size, and avoiding the long ball has been a hallmark of his game since he first came up in 2015.
In this one, he gets one of the league’s most disappointing offenses in the early going. The Padres rank 21st in batting average (.220) and are scoring just 3.57 runs per game. You’d expect a little more than that considering they have slugged the fifth-most homers in the majors as a team, which also means they’re very reliant on the long ball. San Diego figures to not have that luxury versus McCullers, which would indicate a low-scoring tally for the visitors.
It’s also worth pointing out the significant home-and-road splits for McCullers, who has been far better within the friendly confines of Minute Maid Park over his career (2.39 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, .219 BAA in 29 starts) compared to his away assignments (4.92 ERA, 1.46 WHIP, .277 BAA in 30 starts).
The hard part of this under bet will be getting something decent out of Luis Perdomo. The 24-year-old has been inconsistent since first getting called up two years ago. But it can be done.
Fortunately, he’s not one of those Padres starters who become overly lenient on their pitcher-friendly home park, as he sports comparable numbers in his home-and-road splits. Perdomo is coming off a rough first start in 2018 but he still showed a little something, picking up seven K’s in four innings against Milwaukee, so perhaps he’s in the midst of finally recognizing his strikeout potential.
The third-year hurler still hasn’t really established himself as a consistent big-league starter, but he’s exhibited that ability over long stretches before. For instance, he had a streak of 10 straight outings over last summer in which he went six innings, racking up seven quality starts over that span. Perdomo’s 0.9 HR/9 allowed rate from a year ago — which tied him for ninth among starting pitchers — can also come into use here and help prevent him from getting bombed tonight by the defending champs.
For a bit of extra insight into how to bet this game, I also recommend going with an “If Win” bet proposition, if you’re able to. Of course, I’d put the most on the main bet, Under 8.5. In addition, I’d put the minimum amount you’re allowed on Over 8.5 — but as an “If Win” bet — with the subsequent bet being Astros -1.5 (-140), which should absolutely cash here if the under doesn’t win. Just a way of hedging the under, as I’m confident McCullers will provide his usual mastery of opposing lineups. Hopefully it won’t have to get to that point and we can just live with our winnings on the under.
Play: UNDER 8.5 (-110)
Editor’s note: The opinion on this game is from the individual writer and is based on his research, analysis and perspective. It is independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.
Photo Credit: Gary A. Vasquez, USA Today Sports