Sunday’s MLB Over/Under: Bank on Another High-Scoring Reds-Pirates Game?
Pictured: Jameson Taillon. Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Well, that was quite the Saturday afternoon adventure if you were on yesterday’s Tigers-White Sox Under 8 bet. The game was on pace the whole way, eventually entering the final frame with a score of 5-1. In the top of the ninth, we had to survive Juan Minaya coming in and proceeding to walk four — yes, FOUR — straight guys (on 23 pitches!) before being pulled. Thankfully, Gregory Infante came in and retired the next three batters to get out of the jam.
Now the score is 6-1 going into the bottom of the ninth, and just when we think we’re out of the woods with two outs and nobody on, Yoan Moncada gets walked on a full count. Then Avisail Garcia hits a pretty routine ground ball to third that is thrown away for an error, placing the two runs that would push and/or defeat the under in scoring position. It only got more nerve-racking when the Tigers decided to summon Buck Farmer — he of a career 7.03 ERA and 1.64 WHIP — for this predicament, but luckily, he was able to get Jose Abreu to fly out to end the game, cashing tickets for under bettors. The world of baseball over/unders, man.
Zylbert’s 2018 MLB Over/Under Betting Record: 7-1-1, +5.8 units
Yesterday’s Result: Fulmer vs. Giolito Under 8 (WIN)
*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit
Cincinnati Reds @ Pittsburgh Pirates | O/U: 7.5
1:35 p.m. ET
Probable Pitchers: Tyler Mahle vs. Jameson Taillon
The past two meetings between this pair of NL Central residents have resulted in a couple of high-scoring affairs, featuring a total of 25 runs from both clubs. However, you can expect that to come to a halt right away considering the two probables set to toe the rubber this afternoon for today’s series finale.
First off, I’m a huge believer in Jameson Taillon (pictured above), who has the potential to be a frontline starter for years to come. Last season’s unspectacular overall numbers were a complete aberration related to his surgery for suspected testicular cancer, and he got his 2018 campaign out to a good start on Monday with five-plus strong innings in the home opener against Minnesota. He yielded just four hits and struck out nine — compared to zero walks — exhibiting much of the promise that gives me so much confidence in his future.
Another reason to lean on Taillon in this assignment: He’s very consistent in daytime games. In fact, he’s 7-1 in 12 career such starts with a 2.94 ERA. His strikeout tendencies are much better in this setting, too, owning a 9.5 K/9 rate in afternoon outings, which is much better than his 7.6 K/9 mark at night. The former No. 2 overall pick should build off his successful season debut, especially opposite a Reds team that is just 21st in slugging percentage (.379) in the early going.
That brings us to Taillon’s counterpart today, Tyler Mahle, the second-year right-hander who also opened up his season with a nice performance.
Mahle debuted a year ago as a late-season call-up and looked serviceable, going 1-2 with a 2.70 ERA and .253 BAA, albeit while also registering a 1.50 WHIP and 14/11 K/BB ratio in four starts. Interestingly, two of those outings came against the Pirates, whom he held to just three runs across 11 combined innings.
The 23-year-old looks like he could be for real if his first start in 2018 was any indication. He impressively blanked the Cubs on Monday, firing six shutout innings of one-hit ball. Mahle also had seven strikeouts versus two walks.
Did you know this youngster has also not yet surrendered a home run during his time in the Majors? That’s a span of 26 consecutive innings, and it may not be a fluke, as he allowed just four long balls in 10 starts at Triple-A Louisville prior to being called up last year. That’s notable because the Pirates don’t exactly boast a big-time power lineup, with seven homers in the first eight games.
I really wish this over/under line was 8, as a 5-3 outcome is definitely possible, but it still commands my attention at 7.5, especially since the game will be played in pitcher-friendly PNC Park. Both pitchers figure to be on their game and deliver this under.
Play: UNDER 7.5 (-110)
Top photo: Pirates pitcher Jameson Taillon