Wednesday’s MLB Over/Under: Will Hamels’ HR Issues Subside vs. Rays?

Wednesday’s MLB Over/Under: Will Hamels’ HR Issues Subside vs. Rays? article feature image

Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports

Disappointing loss last night, as Shoehei Ohtani was simply not good in his third major league start. It’s understandable, though, given that his previous outing was on April 8, and with plenty of at-bats at the plate in between, his workload is a variable I’ll need to weigh more. Lesson learned as we advance to Wednesday.

Zylbert’s 2018 MLB Over/Under Betting Record: 12-4-1, +7.7 units
Yesterday’s Result: Red Sox-Angels Under 8 (loss)

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

Texas Rangers @ Tampa Bay Rays | O/U: 7.5

1:10 p.m. ET
Probable Pitchers: Cole Hamels (1-2, 4.50 ERA) vs. Jake Faria (0-1, 8.18 ERA)

At age 34, Cole Hamels (pictured above) is still proving to be an effective upper-rotation pitcher, as evidenced by his high strikeout totals in the early going. He’s put up a dazzling 12.27 K/9 mark through his first four starts, which includes a pair of seven-K outings versus the defending champion Astros. Considering he’s averaged more than a strikeout per inning only once since 2013, this is very encouraging.

Yes, he currently sits with a pedestrian 4.50 ERA but he’s been better than that. Hamels has surrendered an unusually large number of homers — already seven, to be exact — which is something that should regress sooner than later based on his track record in that area. The former Phillies ace has also had some bad luck, being saddled with a .320 batting average on balls put in play. Only one other time in his 14-year career did Hamels carry a BABIP higher than .300, so that will go down as well.

Hamels will be in a favorable spot to improve upon his stats right away, drawing an assignment against the Tampa Bay Rays, who have registered the fourth-lowest batting average (.221) when facing left-handed pitching thus far. He also figures to finally record a start without allowing a long ball, as the Rays have hit just 10 homers, fourth-fewest in all of baseball.

Looking at the Rays’ lineup today, they may have a hard time scoring runs in general, especially with dead-bat Jesus Sucre hitting sixth.

The Rangers offense hasn’t exactly been lighting the world on fire either and that could be a boost for young Jake Faria as he comes off his strongest start of the season — a one-run, two-hit outing in five-plus innings vs. the Phillies. He struck out seven and walked two.

Notably, that start came at home, where Faria has been much, much steadier compared to his away assignments. In fact, he’s given up more than three runs in a home start only once. Overall, in his nine career appearances (eight starts) at The Trop, the 24-year-old owns a 2.88 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and .203 batting average against, easily besting the 5.10 ERA, 1.45 WHIP and .243 BAA he’s amassed in 10 appearances (nine starts) on the road.

Additionally, this Texas batting order is without two key players in Elvis Andrus and Rougned Odor. The Rangers are tied for 19th in baseball with a .232 team batting average, and are tied for 23rd with 3.47 runs per game.

With two offenses struggling out of the gates and two starting hurlers in a position to contribute some solid work, I’ll be betting the under.

Play: UNDER 7.5 (-120)