Tuesday’s MLB Over/Under: Can Scherzer Cool Off Kuhl’s Perfect ‘Overs’ Run?
The current string of bad luck unfortunately continued last night, even though pretty much everything I said for last night’s Rangers-Indians Under 8.5 bet came to fruition. That still wasn’t enough. We had the score at 2-1 in the seventh and 3-2 in the eighth, and that’s exactly what you want. Unfortunately both bullpens were a mess, and that unpredictability did us in. Instead of dwelling on it further, let’s just focus on snapping this sudden losing streak.
Zylbert’s 2018 MLB Over/Under Betting Record: 18-10-2, +7 units
Yesterday’s Result: Rangers-Indians Under 8.5, Hamels vs. Bauer (loss)
*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit
Pittsburgh Pirates @ Washington Nationals
7:05 p.m. ET
Probable Pitchers: Chad Kuhl (3-1, 4.55 ERA) vs. Max Scherzer (5-1, 1.62 ERA)
Remember when Scherzer, a perennial Cy Young Award candidate, came within one out of a perfect game in 2015, but ended up controversially barely nipping Jose Tabata on the elbow with two strikes to ruin it? Sure, after retiring the next batter, he ended up with a no-hitter — his first of two — while recording yet another double-digit strikeout performance. But it certainly should have been more.
Fast forward a few years later and Scherzer’s domination opposite the Pirates has not changed while in a Nationals uniform. That afternoon’s outing was his first meeting with the Buccos after coming over to Washington, and he apparently hasn’t let go of the incident (although Tabata is no longer with Pittsburgh).
In five starts against the Pirates since being signed by the Nationals during the 2014 offseason, Scherzer has logged a pristine 2.22 ERA and 0.70 WHIP, to go with a fabulous 30/3 K/BB ratio over 24.1 innings. Furthermore, the club’s 2-3-4 hitters in the lineup — Gregory Polanco, Starling Marte and Josh Bell — are a combined 5-for-26 (.192) against the superstar right-hander.
In their defense, that’s typically how the league generally fares versus Scherzer, who has put together an absolutely microscopic .165 batting average against through his first six starts. To put that into perspective, his .178 BAA a season ago was the best ever in his 11-year career, so he’s actually been even stingier than that. Scherzer has also yielded two earned runs or fewer in all of his assignments.
On paper, having Scherzer lead the way is the easy part of this under bet. Getting something useful out of his counterpart tonight, Kuhl, could prove to be the difference. After all, the over is a perfect 5-0 so far this season when Kuhl is on the hill. Based on what he’s shown with his recent work, however, he appears to be up for the task of finally helping deliver a under victory.
After starting the season with a trifecta of mediocre-at-best outings, the third-year hurler has settled in, churning out a pair of quality starts in wins over the Rockies and Tigers. That’s not a coincidence, as Kuhl recently talked about being “in a really good spot right now,” and his recent outings have proven that. He’s in the process of building off last year’s encouraging second half, when he posted a 3.63 ERA and averaged more than a strikeout per inning over that span.
Kuhl appears to have made an adjustment, something he’s made a habit of doing in order to stay in the big leagues. And he should only continue to improve, as his ridiculously unlucky .373 batting average on balls put in play has to go down sooner than later. With a heavyweight opponent such as Scherzer, he might even have a little room for error as it concerns this under, so long as Scherzer works his usual greatness. In the end, though, I think he can deliver for under backers.
Based on the current juice (+100), it’s possible the over/under line of 7.5 goes up to 8, so wait up until first pitch to see if we indeed get that uptick. Even if it doesn’t happen, it’s an under still worth grabbing at 7.5.
Play: UNDER 7.5/8