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Friday’s MLB Over/Under: How Will Michael Fulmer Fare In Return from DL?

Credit:

Credit: Jim Young-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Detroit Tigers starting pitcher Michael Fulmer.

Betting odds: Chicago White Sox at Detroit Tigers

  • Over/Under: 8.5
  • First pitch: 7:10 p.m. ET
  • Probable Pitchers: Reynaldo Lopez (4-9, 4.72 ERA) vs. Michael Fulmer (3-9, 4.50 ERA)

Zylbert’s 2018 MLB Over/Under Betting Record: 83-55-3, +22.2 units

Yesterday’s Result: Reds-Cubs Under 9, DeSclafani vs. Hamels (WIN)

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


A pair of American League Central rivals will continue their four-game clash Friday evening, in a matchup featuring two pitchers who are unquestionably better than what their current numbers suggest.

 

Tonight’s bout in Detroit will involve the return of former American League Rookie of the Year winner Michael Fulmer, who is making his first start in more than a month after going on the disabled list due to an oblique injury.

In his last outing on July 14, Fulmer’s ERA jumped up nearly a half run (from 4.11 to 4.50) as the dangerous Astros lineup avalanched the Tigers right-hander for a season-high seven earned runs.

Prior to the injury, he was in the midst of etching another solid campaign, and his first start of the second half presents an opportunity for him to get back on track.

Fulmer has been fairly consistent whenever he toes the rubber opposite the White Sox, even pitching into the seventh inning or later in three of six career meetings.

In his lone start this year against the Pale Hose, he blanked them in 5.1 innings. Fulmer should be helped by having Jose Abreu out of the White Sox’s lineup at the moment, as well.

Above anything, to me at least, is the attitude and approach I see from Fulmer heading into his return. He told the Detroit Free Press how his injury “might have been a blessing in disguise,” allowing him to focus exclusively on mechanical adjustments.

Based on his two rehab starts, those changes may be working, as he tallied six shutout innings in those outings, allowing only a single hit and picking up 11 strikeouts in his minor-league rehab assignment.

“Everything is looking up for me,” Fulmer added. “I was so stoked about my rehab starts and my bullpen [Wednesday] was probably the best I’ve thrown all year. I know you get that a lot, but I honestly felt like it was.”

We’ll take him at his word not only because he’s a good pitcher, but because he’s a smart one, too. All of those factors will help override those two glaring trends I’ve discussed often this year regarding Fulmer: He’s been significantly better during the day than at night, and he’s typically fared better in the first half of the season compared to the second. I’m 5-0 on his over/under bets this year and believe he can come through in this spot.

The other starting pitcher in this affair, Reynaldo Lopez, has also experienced some success versus tonight’s opponent. He’s faced the Tigers five times since arriving in Chicago, and three of those efforts clocked in as quality starts. Additionally, one of the other two was of the respectable seven-inning, four-run variety.

Lopez may be struggling going into this assignment but he’s superior to his current stats. It may actually be a boost for him that he got lit up by the Royals his last time out.

There have been four other instances in Lopez’s career where he was tagged for six or more earned runs — including two this season. In each of the four ensuing follow-up starts, the 24-year-old was tremendous, allowing three-or-fewer runs in all. Collectively, he notched a 2.16 ERA and 0.96 WHIP in those outings, spanning 25 innings.

The biggest issue for Lopez this season has been giving up too many home runs. In fact, he’s tied for the sixth-most long balls allowed in the AL with 23, including 17 homers at home, which is second-most in the league. Fortunately for Lopez he’s on the road tonight, where he’s been much better keeping the ball in the yard.

Play: UNDER 8.5 (-120)

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