- The Rays and Tigers have scored just eight runs total in the first two games of this series.
- Blake Snell, the Rays’ stud lefty, has a great matchup against the Tigers, who struggle against southpaws.
OK, now I’m angry. It’s rare that I experience a losing streak of five games, though in my defense, three of those games easily could have — and in some cases should have — ended in a push or a win. But we must move past that and get this turned back around.
Zylbert’s 2018 MLB Over/Under Betting Record: 18-11-2, +5.9 units
Yesterday’s Result: Pirates-Nationals Under 7.5, Kuhl vs. Scherzer (loss)
*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit; all odds as of 9:45 a.m. ET
Tampa Bay Rays @ Detroit Tigers | O/U: 8
1:10 p.m. ET
Probable Pitchers: Blake Snell (4-1, 2.52 ERA) vs. Michael Fulmer (1-2, 2.76 ERA)
After splitting a pair of low-scoring contests, in which both clubs tallied a total of just eight runs combined, the Rays and Tigers will wrap up a three-game set at Comerica Park this afternoon.
And based on the starting pitching matchup — which could legitimately be considered the strongest one of the whole series — I like the the runs drought to continue through the rubber game.
Not only are today’s two hurlers good upper-rotation pitchers, they’re also a sharp contrast from what each lineup has seen during the first two meetings. The Rays squared off with Jordan Zimmermann and Matt Boyd — two guys with relatively low velocity — and are now tasked with facing the hard-throwing Michael Fulmer. And Detroit now has to face surging southpaw Blake Snell, who also throws hard, after dealing with Jake Faria and Chris Archer. This should help keep both offenses off balance.
That’s extra significant in the case of the Tigers, who don’t fare particularly well when a left-hander is on the hill as it is, ranking 20th in slugging percentage (.367) and second-to-last in at-bats per home run (79) against lefties. With the fewest ABs overall logged against left-handed pitching (158), the Tigers may also not be as attuned to facing southpaws as most clubs.
Plus, Blake Snell (pictured above) is not any ordinary lefty, having looked like a clear All-Star in the season’s first month. His four wins are tied for the American League lead, and he also ranks among the major’s best in ERA (2.52), WHIP (0.95), K/9 (10.35) and batting average against (.185).
Fulmer has also looked sharp throughout April despite his 1-2 record, as he’s posted a 2.76 ERA and yielded only three home runs in his five outings. However, the main thing for me regarding this former Mets draft pick — as I’ve already covered extensively twice previously this year — is the exact scenario he’ll be pitching in. First off, it’s prior to the All-Star break: Fulmer has been much better in the first half of the campaign (2.76 ERA) compared to the second (4.45 ERA).
In addition, this is a daytime start for the 25-year-old, who now holds a superb 2.43 ERA during the day after his six shutout innings in Pittsburgh last week (an under we had). Compare that to his career 4.15 ERA at night. He’s also been a little better at home, too, so we seem to be getting Fulmer in his most ideal comfortable setting, making Under 8 the play here.
Play: UNDER 8 (-120)