Jennifer Buchanan-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Felix Hernandez
Betting odds: Houston Astros at Seattle Mariners
- Over/Under: 8
- First Pitch: 10:10 p.m. ET
- Probable Pitchers: Gerrit Cole (11-5, 2.71 ERA) vs. Felix Hernandez (8-11, 5.62 ERA)
Zylbert’s 2018 MLB Over/Under Betting Record: 82-52-3, +24.45 units
Yesterday’s Result: Cubs-Pirates Under 8 (WIN)
*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit
Oh how the mighty have fallen.
During King Felix’s lengthy prime, he was hardly an underdog — and you rarely saw an over/under line higher than 7 in his starts at pitcher-friendly Safeco Field.
Sometimes you’d even see totals as low as 6.5 or 6.
Yet here we are in 2018 and Hernandez has a home date with one of the top pitchers in baseball in Cole, and the over/under is sitting at 8.
It’s true that Hernandez is having his worst year ever. In fact, if the season were to end today, the 32-year-old would finish with career-high marks in ERA (5.62), WHIP (1.43) and batting average against (.269).
But we have some reason to believe Monday’s spot could help propel him to a useful showing.
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First, he’s trying to remain a starter after being demoted to the bullpen for the first time in his career. His stay there was short-lived — he made only one relief appearance — as injuries forced the King back onto the pitching staff.
You can bet he won’t want to relinquish this newfound opportunity. As a matter of fact, he even predicted that he’d be back in the rotation by year’s end.
Being at home will certainly help, too, as Hernandez has typically performed better at Safeco Field than he has on the road.
His home/road splits this season:
- Home 4.02 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, .245 BAA
- Road: 7.46 ERA, 1.62 WHIP, .295 BAA
Interestingly, Hernandez has not yet faced the division-rival Astros yet this season, so that unfamiliarity — plus reigning AL MVP Jose Altuve’s absence for Houston — should provide a boost.
And then, of course, we can also lean on Cole in this crucial series opener, as well.
One main reason Cole is a top contender for the AL Cy Young is his consistency: He’s allowed more than three runs only four times in his 25 starts — and he’s yet to yield more than four runs in any outing.
Cole is coming off one of his most dominant performances of the season, as he held the hard-hitting Rockies lineup to just one run on five hits in six innings, striking out 12 batters (his most since May 4).
In his first year in the American League, Cole, formerly of Pittsburgh Pirates, has faced Seattle three times and fared well (2.57 ERA, 0.95 WHIP, .197 BAA in 21 innings). He also didn’t surrender a homer in those meetings.