Thursday’s MLB Over/Under: Seth Lugo Returns to the Mets’ Rotation

Thursday’s MLB Over/Under: Seth Lugo Returns to the Mets’ Rotation article feature image

Aaron Doster, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Seth Lugo

Last night’s Marlins-Padres Under 7.5 bet was basically the equivalent of a heat check — given how it involved a guy who was 0-7 and another who’s a soft-throwing lefty — and we still nailed it for our sixth win in a row and 10th victory in our last 11 plays. It’s been an incredibly enjoyable ride, but now we must place a bow on what was an outstanding May for us.

Zylbert’s 2018 MLB Over/Under Betting Record: 39-19-2, +17.7 units
Yesterday’s Result: Marlins-Padres Under 7.5, Urena vs. Richard (WIN)
*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit

Chicago Cubs @ New York Mets | O/U: 8
7:10 p.m. ET
Probable Pitchers: Jose Quintana (5-4, 4.78 ERA) vs. Seth Lugo (1-1, 2.48 ERA)

Sports psychology is a very important element that I try to implement into my handicapping, but perhaps even more so when the Cubs and Mets hook up for the first of four in their upcoming series Thursday evening at Citi Field.

That’s because righthander Seth Lugo, a mainstay on New York’s starting pitching staff only a season ago, will be taking the mound for his first start of the season after making 20 relief appearances out of the Mets’ shaky bullpen.

While he’s been tremendous as a reliever, posting a 2.48 ERA and .203 batting average against in 32.2 innings to go along with a career-best 9.37 K/9, the fact remains that Lugo has been clear about how he prefers starting, even specifically saying, “I’ve always been a starter, more comfortable with that.” He also mentioned how much easier it is for him because he’s “back into a routine I’ve always used.”

Although injured stud Noah Syndergaard might only miss the minimum one start, it’s still more likely than not that Lugo is back in the rotation for good, whether it be replacing struggling free-agent acquisition Jason Vargas or possibly even Zack Wheeler. So in other words, Lugo couldn’t be any more amped right now because this is his opening to start again, and even if he’s allowed to clock in four innings, we’ll still take his presence on the bump. If anything, a short outing like that will still let him continue to throw as hard as he has out of the bullpen, and that could lead to a nice start to the ballgame for the 28-year-old.

And then there is Jose Quintana, the veteran southpaw who will look to extend the Mets’ woes opposite left-handed pitching. Their struggles in this area have been well-documented in this column, as I’ve relied upon their league-low marks in team batting average (.216), OPS (.605) and at-bats per home run (64.9) when a lefty is on the hill. That last stat figures to be more useful for Quintana, who has already surrendered eight home runs in his 10 starts. By comparison, he allowed only nine homers in 14 assignments after coming over to the Cubs last year around the trade deadline.

Quintana already has some encouraging numbers against the Mets, albeit in two career starts, owning a 1.93 ERA in the pair of meetings. He also has kept up a trend of being considerably better on the road (3-2, 3.18 ERA) than at home (2-2, 6.66 ERA) dating back to his trade last year. Remember, also, that the Mets’ lineup is a bit downgraded right now without Yoenis Cespedes, Todd Frazier or Wilmer Flores, which can potentially assist the seven-year veteran in bouncing back from an off outing his last time out.

Play: UNDER 8 (-110)