Thursday’s MLB Over/Under: Will Mahle and Buehler Continue Impressive Rookie Campaigns?
Wow, did we barely avert a disastrous bad beat in last night’s Royals vs. Orioles game. Fortunately, we got quality starts from both Eric Skoglund and Andrew Cashner, but some shoddy bullpen work and not-so-great defense had us sweating it out until the very end. Now let’s hope the momentum keeps rolling into Thursday.
Zylbert’s 2018 MLB Over/Under Betting Record: 24-13-2, +9.6 units
Yesterday’s Result: Royals-Orioles Under 10, Skoglund vs. Cashner (WIN)
*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit
Cincinnati Reds @ Los Angeles Dodgers
10:10 p.m. ET
Probable Pitchers: Tyler Mahle (2-4, 4.35 ERA) vs. Walker Buehler (2-0, 1.13 ERA)
This will be the fourth start in the career of young Walker Buehler. We’ve already been on the under (1-1) in two of his first three outings. I truly believe the hard-throwing righty has the stuff and makeup to be one of the best starting pitchers in baseball.
Still only 23 years old, Buehler has looked very impressive early on, registering an average velocity in the 97-98 mph range. Another encouraging sign is that he’s pitched into the sixth inning or deeper in each of his assignments for the Dodgers. In the process, he’s yielded only two runs combined, while recording a 19/5 K/BB ratio in his 16 innings of work.
Of course, in his last time out — in helping deliver an under victory for this column — he played the starring role in a rare team no-hitter over the Padres in Mexico, logging a career-best six shutout innings to go with eight strikeouts and three walks. I think this is what everyone should get accustomed to quickly, as Buehler has the talent to dominate regularly. With a favorable matchup on tap from Chavez Ravine, another gem from Buehler looks more likely than not, going up against a Reds lineup that is 25th in team OPS (.692). The Reds strike out a decent amount, too, doing so once every 4.2 at-bats.
If the Reds have had any bright spots in their troubling 10-27 start, look no further than fellow youngster Tyler Mahle, who has pitched like someone that can be a future mainstay on Cincinnati’s pitching staff. Given their horrendous starting pitching in recent years, that’s a pretty big deal.
Mahle will be getting the starting nod for the eighth time this season — his first full one in the bigs following last year’s September call-up — and he’s provided some pleasant numbers, carrying a 4.35 ERA into tonight’s opener of a four-game set. Most impressive, though, is that he’s amassed a very nice 42/11 K/BB ratio across 39.1 innings.
The area where the 23-year-old could improve is keeping the ball in the park, having been the victim of nine home runs already. By comparison, he surrendered zero in his four starts a year ago, and prior to that, he allowed only four during his 10 starts at Triple-A Louisville.
Fortunately for Mahle, he’s about to square off with a Dodgers offense that is tied — with the Reds, notably — for the second-fewest home runs (32) in the National League. With no Justin Turner and Corey Seager, this is a lineup that is far from full strength right now, which could allow Mahle to capitalize and turn in a good effort.
Based on the current juice, with Under 7.5 being +100, it would do no harm in waiting up until first pitch to see if you can get that number at 8, which could always make a world of difference. Even if we don’t get the desired bump, this is still a quality under bet to make at 7.5.
Play: UNDER 7.5/8