Thursday’s MLB Over/Under: Can Anthony DeSclafani, Cole Hamels Keep Their Streaks Going?

Thursday’s MLB Over/Under: Can Anthony DeSclafani, Cole Hamels Keep Their Streaks Going? article feature image

Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Cole Hamels (35) looks to the catcher for a sign against the Pittsburgh Pirates during the first inning at PNC Park.

Betting odds: Cincinnati Reds at Chicago Cubs

  • Over/Under: 9
  • First Pitch: 8:05 p.m. ET (MLB Network)
  • Probable Pitchers: Anthony DeSclafani (6-3, 4.12 ERA) vs. Cole Hamels (8-9, 4.00 ERA)

Zylbert’s 2018 MLB Over/Under Betting Record: 82-55-3, +21.2 units

Yesterday’s Result: Twins-White Sox Under 8.5, Gibson vs. Rodon (loss)

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

With the infamous Wrigley Field breeze blowing out to center field tonight, it still seems like the over/under line for this series opener between the Reds and Cubs is a tick too high.

Surely, tonight’s starting pitchers deserve a little bit more respect based on their fantastic performances as of late.

Hamels was one of the key acquisitions at the baseball trade deadline, and despite inconsistencies with the Rangers this year that saw him leave Texas with a 4.72 ERA and 1.37 WHIP, the former World Series MVP has proven that a change of scenery can do wonders for a pitcher.

Hamels has allowed one run or fewer in each of his four starts with the Cubs. To put that into perspective, he managed only five such outings all season before landing in Chicago.

He has given up just three runs (two earned) total with his new club, over 25 innings, which is good for a microscopic 0.72 ERA. Additionally, he’s also manufactured a stingy 0.89 WHIP and opposing hitters are batting .193 against him.

Perhaps most impressive of all, Hamels has not surrendered a single home run as a Cub. That was his biggest issue this season in Texas, where he was tagged for 23 longballs in his 20 starts with the Rangers. That’s the equivalent of 1.81 HR/9, easily the most homers Hamels had ever allowed per nine innings in his 13 years in the majors.

In dominant form right now, if Hamels can string together another gem similar to the rest of his Cubs’ work, that would put this under in a very favorable position.

DeSclafani is another hurler who has been hitting his stride lately, entering tonight’s outing with three consecutive quality starts. Those three efforts were arguably his three best performances of the season, going at least seven innings and limiting the opposition to one run or fewer in each outing.

Before this streak, he had pitched seven innings only once in 10 tries. His early struggles were likely tied to injuries — a partially torn UCL in 2017 and a strained oblique en route to making his 2018 debut in the beginning of June.

As he’s proven before, the former Miami Marlin can be a consistently good pitcher when healthy. It’s easy to forget that DeSclafani actually enjoyed a very solid season two years ago, when he was 9-5 with a 3.28 ERA and looked like he could emerge as a leader in the Reds’ rotation.

With that thinking, it might be fruitful to buy into DeSclafani right now while the oddsmakers are clearly still underrating him. We can also lean on his steady track record when facing this division foe, as the 28-year-old has yielded three earned runs or fewer in six of his eight starts against the Cubs in his career.

Something in line with that would be very useful for this under wager. Even if DeSclafani is slightly off, we can still get by thanks to the total being as high as 9 and Hamels’ renaissance on the North Side.

Play: UNDER 9 (-110)