Monday’s MLB Over/Under to Consider: Should You Believe in Jameson?
Despite home plate umpire C.B. Bucknor making things a little bit difficult in yesterday’s Cardinals-Mets Under 8, we still managed to pull out the victory and keep the spotless record intact. It’s a new week now, though, so let’s move on to the first baseball Monday of the year.
Zylbert’s 2018 MLB Over/Under Betting Record: 3-0, +3 units
Yesterday’s Result: Weaver vs Matz Under 8 (WIN)
*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit
Minnesota Twins @ Pittsburgh Pirates
1:05 p.m. ET
Probable Pitchers: Lance Lynn vs. Jameson Taillon
In 2017, Jameson Taillon was one of my top sleepers entering the campaign, and while his final numbers for the season may not stand out, it’s pretty clear they’re misleading.
Taillon, of course, had surgery related to suspected testicular cancer early on in the season that would end up sidelining him for over a month. Prior to that, however, he recorded a sub-3.00 ERA, as opposing hitters could only produce a .232 batting average in his first five starts.
Upon returning, the former No. 2 overall draft pick struggled with consistency, but that is to be expected after all he went through. Taillon is back to normalcy at this point, which is crucial because that’s something he often stated his desire for following the surgery in order to get back on track.
A healthy Taillon in his normal routine has a very high ceiling — one that even exceeds All-Star caliber — and he’ll be in a nice spot for today’s home opener to start his season off right.
While the Twins offense has been productive in the early going, they’ve also been relying a lot on the long ball, something they likely won’t have at their disposal in this one. That’s because Taillon is very good at keeping the ball in the ballpark. He allowed only 13 home runs in 104 total innings a year ago, or 0.74 HR/9, the third-best such mark in the league only behind Stephen Strasburg and Michael Fulmer among starters.
Toeing the rubber for Minnesota will be someone making their team debut, yet is still an old for this Pirates team. That would be Lance Lynn, who has plenty of experience pitching in this ballpark, and although his career numbers opposite the Pirates aren’t very good, it’s his experience and familiarity that can assist with this under bet.
In general, Lynn has been one of the steadier — and most underrated — pitchers going over the last three years, in which he’s amassed a nifty 3.06 ERA across 97 starts. His main bugaboo last year was his tendency of surrendering homers, but fortunately, he draws a lineup in his first start in his new digs that hit the second-fewest home runs in all of baseball last season.
Oh, and we can also view Lynn as an automatic out for each time he steps up to bat. Considering he didn’t latch onto a team until mid-March, it’s safe to assume he hasn’t been working on his hitting, especially with this being his first year in a new league after six years with the Cardinals.
With a comfortable line of 8 for a matchup in a distinct National League pitcher’s park, we’re just looking for two established pros here to churn out something even close to their usual work. That should pace this solid under play.
Play: UNDER 8 (-120)
Top Photo: Clearwater, FL, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitcher Jameson Taillon (50) throws a pitch during the first inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Spectrum Field. Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports