Sunday’s MLB Over/Under: What Versions of Mahle and Berrios Will Show Up in Minnesota?
Mitch Stringer – USA TODAY Sports
Ouch, just a flat-out bad call yesterday in Dodgers-Giants Under 7.5. In my defense, I was sick with a headache, so my feel just wasn’t there. It’s the equivalent of a starting pitcher not having his stuff and having to really grind out a start. I’m better now, though, and refocused to end the weekend right.
Zylbert’s 2018 MLB Over/Under Betting Record: 18-8-2, +9.3 units
Yesterday’s Result: Dodgers-Giants Under 7.5, Buehler vs. Stratton (loss)
*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit
Cincinnati Reds @ Minnesota Twins
2:10 p.m. ET
Probable Pitchers: Tyler Mahle (1-3, 5.00 ERA) vs. Jose Berrios (2-2, 2.84 ERA)
There is no question that Jose Berrios (pictured above) is primed for a long, successful tenure at the top of Minnesota’s starting rotation. He regularly dominated throughout his minor league journey, and despite some hiccups in his rookie campaign a couple of years ago, Berrios has settled in and looked like one of the more stingy starters in the American League since the beginning of 2017.
While it might be concerning that he’s coming off his least effective outing on the young season, he can be excused from that lackluster effort, being that it came against the Yankees on the road. That’s a tough assignment for any hurler. And we might not mind that Berrios will be in a bounce-back scenario such as this one. In the five previous instances dating back to last year where he yielded five or more earned runs in an outing, he would go on to register a quality start in four of those previous predicaments, ultimately crafting together a 3.26 ERA in such spots.
Prior to his last effort, Berrios recorded three scoreless outings of seven innings or more in four tries, and fortunately for those of us on this under bet, we’re getting him in his most comfortable setting. Berrios has been far more consistent within the pitcher-friendly confines of Target Field compared to his outings on the road. Last year in his first full season in the bigs, the 23-year-old right-hander went 9-1 in 10 starts (and one relief appearance) in Minnesota with a 2.41 ERA, 0.95 WHIP and .199 batting average against. That’s a very sharp contrast to the 5.17 ERA, 1.47 WHIP and .270 BAA he posted in his away assignments.
The Puerto Rican native is displaying similar tendencies in his home-and-road splits in the early going, but even aside from his consistency at Target Field, Berrios has simply looked really good. Even in the other outing where he allowed five runs on April 7, he still started out that game retiring the first 10 hitters. Overall, opposing batters have mustered only a .181 average off Berrios, which is the fourth-lowest amongst qualified AL starters. That doesn’t bode well for a club like Cincinnati that collectively is batting .239.
The Reds have been struggling in every area, in fact, hence why they own the worst record in the majors entering Sunday. They do have some bright spots, however, and rookie Tyler Mahle is certainly one of them.
Yes, he holds an undesirable 5.00 ERA through his first starts but the youngster has otherwise looked solid and appears as if he can be a mainstay on Cincinnati’s always-changing pitching staff. Like Berrios, he’s endured two rough outings, but has also registered three quality starts.
Most impressive about Mahle has been his strikeout totals, racking up 31 K’s in just 27 innings pitched. That’s a marked improvement from when he got his first taste of the big leagues last year and accumulated only 14 strikeouts in 20 innings.
The walks have been down as well, and while the number of homers he’s allowed so far is a little concerning, that should come down, given that he gave up none in five starts last season. Perhaps that downward trend begins to happen this afternoon, taking on a Twins team that ranks 22nd in home runs. Furthermore, it can also be helpful in that regard working from Target Field, where the 0.681 HR park factor rate is 26th in baseball, according to ESPN.
Get this bet in right away while the total is 9, as there’s a chance it could bump down to 8.5.
Play: UNDER 9 (-120)