Monday’s MLB Over/Under: How Will Hamels vs. Bauer Matchup Play Out?

Monday’s MLB Over/Under: How Will Hamels vs. Bauer Matchup Play Out? article feature image

Just as we thought we could escape yesterday’s Reds-Twins Under 9 bet with a push, .145-hitting Jason Castro punched in the decisive run from second with two outs in the bottom of the ninth, putting us under backers away. It’s a shame, as the tough part of that bet was garnering quality pitching out of Tyler Mahle, who was terrific. Unfortunately, Jose Berrios let us down in a big way against the majors’ worst team in a performance that none could have saw coming. Let’s move on and try to end the month right.

Zylbert’s 2018 MLB Over/Under Betting Record: 18-9-2, +8.1 units
Yesterday’s Result: Reds-Twins Under 9, Mahle vs. Berrios (loss)
*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit

Texas Rangers @ Cleveland Indians
6:10 p.m. ET
Probable Pitchers: Cole Hamels (1-4, 4.41 ERA) vs. Trevor Bauer (2-2, 2.41 ERA)

Two proven hurlers square off at Progressive Field when the Rangers and Indians begin a three-game set Monday night. It also happens to be a meeting between two starters who have been very beneficial for under bettors in the season’s first month.

Hamels, the visiting pitcher, has in fact registered a 5-1 record toward unders. While his 4.41 ERA and 1.38 WHIP aren’t exactly desirable, he’s still been effective, as evident in the 10.13 K/9 mark he’s posted, which is 10th-best in the American League. Hamels has also been fairly consistent, pitching into the fifth inning or deeper in all six of his starts. He’s allowed three runs or fewer in four of them.

The 13-year veteran is still having a problem keeping the ball in the yard, but that’s something that should fix itself as the year continues. After all, he’s currently surrendering a whopping 2.08 HR/9. To stress what an outlier that is, Hamels has never ended up with higher than 1.12 HR/9 allowed since 2007, his second year in the league.

This will be a fine spot for Hamels to improve upon his home-run tendencies, as he gets an Indians team that has had a hard time against left-handed pitching. Entering tonight’s action, Cleveland is above only the Red Sox among AL teams in batting average (.220) and on-base percentage (.288) versus southpaws.

Going for the Tribe will be the still-emerging Bauer, who could be in the midst of etching together his best season yet. Though he’s had under bets go only 3-2 in his outings, the former No. 3 overall draft pick is off to a phenomenal start in 2018, sporting a shiny 2.41 ERA and .192 batting average against.

I’ve long been a fan of Bauer — really even since his Diamondback days of 2012 — and I find it hard to believe that this extremely talented 27-year-old righty has not made an All-Star team, nor has he finished with lower than a 4.00 ERA! That’s pretty hard to believe.

Well, Bauer is nicely on track to finally accomplish both, and another indicator that he’ll do that are his strikeout numbers. Only two times — his rookie season and 2017 — has Bauer averaged more than a strikeout per inning, and he’s doing that again this year, with 35 K’s in 33.2 innings, and that’s definitely sustainable. Bauer has always possessed ace-caliber stuff, and at the very least, he has a chance to continue his strikeout prowess against a team that strikes out a bunch. The Rangers have actually struck out more than all but one AL club (Orioles), with 267 total punch-outs in 967 at-bats. That’s once every 3.6 ABs.

Additionally, this Texas batting order is still not nearly at full strength, missing the majority of their starting infield — Adrian Beltre, Elvis Andrus and Rougned Odor. As it is, they’re 22nd in runs scored in baseball. The Indians, by the way, are 27th.

I have noticed that a lot of the money being bet on this game is actually on the over, and that actually got the number raised to 8.5. I just don’t see it, however, considering all the evidence provided for the under. And with that, I’m on Under 8.5.

Play: UNDER 8.5 (-110)