Monday’s MLB Over/Under: Perez, Ray Set to Clash in The Desert

Monday’s MLB Over/Under: Perez, Ray Set to Clash in The Desert article feature image

Brad Mills, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Martin Perez

  • The Texas Rangers and Arizona Diamondbacks are playing for the first time since 2015.
  • Robbie Ray gets the start for the Snakes and is coming off a tremendous outing against the Cubs.
  • Martin Perez hasn't been great for the Rangers this year but the southpaw has put together two quality starts over his last three outings.

I thoroughly enjoyed yesterday’s Mets-Pirates game as it ended, 1-0, and cashed our Under 7.5 bet.

Zylbert’s 2018 MLB Over/Under Betting Record: 69-44-3, +20.4 units
Yesterday’s Result: Mets-Pirates Under 7.5, Wheeler vs. Musgrove (WIN)
*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit

>> Follow Matt Zylbert in The Action Network App to get free alerts on all his MLB bets during the season.

Texas Rangers @ Arizona Diamondbacks | O/U: 8.5

  • 9:40 p.m. ET
  • Probable Pitchers: Martin Perez (2-4, 7.08 ERA) vs. Robbie Ray (3-2, 4.90 ERA)

The Rangers and Diamondbacks are set to play for the first time since 2015 on Monday night with two underachieving southpaws slated to toe the rubber.

Of course, Ray is the more high-profile of the two hurlers, being one year removed from a campaign that saw him log career bests in wins (15), ERA (2.89), WHIP (1.15), strikeouts (218) and batting average against (.199) to help Arizona march into the postseason. Simply put, the fifth-year left-hander was absolutely electric, not to mention a legitimate name in the NL Cy Young discussion.

Flash forward to 2018 and Ray has not been able to match last season’s dominance, though to be fair, a lot of that has to do with the strained oblique that cost him nearly two full months of action. Ray has made six starts since returning from the disabled list at the end of June, and despite mixed results within that span, I believe he’s closer than not to returning to his normal consistent form.

Ray is coming off his best showing of the season, as he registered a season-high seven innings his last time out at Wrigley Field and held a solid Cubs lineup in check to just one run on four hits, as he also struck out six and walked only one.

The key for Ray to succeed is striking batters out, which he’s been doing again, as he’s fanned at least six batters in all but one of his starts since coming off the DL. That figures to be a factor for him here, as he draws a tasty matchup on this night with the strikeout-happy Rangers, who lead all of baseball as a team with 1,026 punch-outs. Ray, who led the NL with 12.11 K/9 a year ago, could be salivating and I expect him to do his part in keeping the score on the low side.

Perez, on the other hand, does not boast the same type of track record as tonight’s opponent, but he, too, will be in a spot to propel this under wager. Like Ray, the 27-year-old will be coming off a standout performance, when he limited the hot-hitting Athletics to only one run in seven solid frames last week.

That’s significant because that marks two quality starts in three tries for Perez since coming back from a two-month stint on the disabled list. Perez appears to be getting back in a comfort zone again, so we’ll attempt to lean on him to be just decent, with Ray hopefully providing the rest.

There is also a variable that can help lift Perez, being trade-deadline season. Perez has spent his entire seven-year career in Texas, and while he’s not one of the most popular trade targets out there for pitchers, it’s still possible that this could be his last start in a Rangers uniform. Perez has always liked being in the organization — even saying recently how he wants to “stay here for my career” — so that’s a mental factor that can potentially assist our cause tonight.

Play: UNDER 8.5 (-110)