Tuesday’s MLB Over/Under: Is the Price Right for the Ohtani Show?

Tuesday’s MLB Over/Under: Is the Price Right for the Ohtani Show? article feature image

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: David Price.

For the second straight Monday, we had an over bet involving Tyler Chatwood get postponed as a result of wintry weather. In this particular instance, I truly believe Vegas caught a break, as it was simply wrong to open up Cardinals-Cubs with a line of 8 for a Wainwright vs. Chatwood matchup and the Wrigley Field winds blowing out. To quote former NFL head coach Dennis Green, “They are who we thought they were and we let them off the hook!” Actually, it was the weather that let the oddsmakers off the hook, but close enough. Now let’s move on to Tuesday.

Zylbert’s 2018 MLB Over/Under Betting Record: 12-3-1, +8.8 units
Yesterday’s Result: Cardinals-Cubs Over 8, Wainwright vs. Chatwood (Postponed)

*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit

Boston Red Sox @ Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim | O/U: 8

10:07 p.m. ET (MLB Network)
Probable Pitchers: David Price (1-1, 2.40 ERA) vs. Shohei Ohtani (2-0, 2.08 ERA)

There’s a colossal three-game series beginning at Angel Stadium tonight, as the clubs with the two best records in the American League square off. Adding to the intrigue, due to Sunday’s Angels-Royals postponement, Japanese rookie sensation Shohei Ohtani will get the ball in the opener for what is sure to be his stiffest test to date. How will the 23-year-old marvel stack up against a lineup that ranks in the top three in baseball in runs scored, batting average and OPS?

Well, if you’ve seen any of Ohtani up to this point, chances are you came away very impressed, and that’s not just in reference to his pitching. As a hitter, Ohtani has registered an outstanding slash line of .367/.424/.767 in 30 at-bats to go with three homers and 11 RBI. Fortunately, we seemingly won’t have to deal with the batting version of this special two-way player as he has not recorded a plate appearance in either of his pitching outings.

Relying on Ohtani as a pitcher, we would love to see him duplicate the results of his first two starts, in which he totaled 13 innings and a ridiculous 18 strikeouts while allowing a grand total of three runs and six baserunners (four hits, two walks). He even flirted with perfection his last time out — which came back on April 8 — retiring the first 19 Oakland Athletics batters he faced before they were finally able to scratch out a hit.

Boston, with its high ranks on offense, will be a distinct challenge for Ohtani, but based on what he’s exhibited thus far, he can pass this test with flying colors. Obviously, the punchouts have been there — his 12.50 K/9 rate is tied for ninth-best — and while the Red Sox don’t strike out often, even their intimidating lineup figures to have a hard time opposite Ohtani, who has generated a 35.2% swinging-strike percentage, which leads all of MLB. Furthermore, all 18 of his strikeouts have come on a swinging third strike. When you’re seeing him for the first time as a hitter, chances are there will be some difficulty.

As for Ohtani handling the high-pressure affair, I don’t think that’s an issue. If you’ve read any of his interviews or watched his mannerisms on the hill, it appears as if he embraces situations such as the one he’ll be in this evening.

Price (pictured above), his counterpart for this series opener, has pitched in plenty of big games and will undoubtedly be looking forward to this particular assignment. Before leaving his last start with numbness in his hand, Price was spotless in his first two starts, tossing 14 shutout innings and yielding only seven hits. He also struck out 10 and walked three.

In my first article for The Action Network, I detailed how Price had enjoyed his first full spring training in as long as he can remember. That would also explain why Price had a strong spring showing, and it carried over into the regular season. Last weekend’s hiccup is concerning, but he insists he’s fine, and we’ll bank on him getting back on track.

Perhaps the biggest piece of evidence that could indicate a useful outing from the veteran southpaw is his surprising success against the league’s best player, Mike Trout, over his career. In 21 ABs, Trout has picked up just three hits — including none for extra bases — while striking out a whopping 10 times. That’s actually Trout’s highest ABs/K rate of any pitcher he’s faced more than 20 times previously.

The lights will certainly be bright for the main event of Tuesday night’s MLB slate. Look for both starting pitchers to deliver, and with the line at 8, it could take just one strong performance to pave the way for this under wager.

Play: UNDER 8 (-110)