Tuesday’s MLB Over/Under: Targeting Inexperienced Starters in Anaheim

Tuesday’s MLB Over/Under: Targeting Inexperienced Starters in Anaheim article feature image

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Jim Johnson

Betting odds: Texas Rangers at Los Angeles Angels

  • Over/Under: 9
  • First Pitch: 10:07 p.m. ET
  • Probable Pitchers: Adrian Sampson (0-0, 54.00 ERA) vs. Jim Johnson (5-3, 3.81 ERA)

Zylbert’s 2018 MLB Over/Under Betting Record: 93-62-4, +24.55 units

Yesterday’s Result: Yankees-Twins Under 8.5, Happ vs. Gibson (loss)

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

One of the more curious pitching matchups on this Tuesday MLB slate will be taking place at The Big A in Anaheim tonight.

That’s because it involves two pitchers who have made a grand total of two combined starts in their careers. And neither projects to be a starter for the long term in the major leagues.

Of course, it’s easy to apply that to veteran journeyman reliever Jim Johnson, who will be making his second career start — and, remarkably, his first since his major-league debut in 2006. He’s made exactly 666 relief appearances since that day.

Johnson is serving as “the opener” in this rare bullpen game for the Halos, who are deploying this strategy because their starting rotation is so banged up.

While there’s a certain variable to Johnson opening up the ballgame — he’ll go no more than two innings — we can still lean on an explosive Rangers lineup to potentially do some damage in this spot.

The Angels bullpen has surrendered the fourth-most homers (73) in the bigs this season, and with Texas oozing home-run hitters up and down the batting order, this matchup heavily favors the over.

The Los Angeles bullpen is also 20th in K/9 (8.52), which is another factor that can propel the Rangers offensively, considering how prone they normally are to strikeouts.

Johnson, for instance, has recorded just 40 Ks in 56.2 innings this season.

Then we have the Rangers’ Sampson, who will be making his second appearance for Texas. Before this season, his only other outing came two years ago, a start with the Mariners in which he got touched up for four runs on eight hits, including two long balls, in 4.2 innings.

Simply put, Sampson has a very low ceiling as a major league starter.

In the minors this year, Sampson logged a pretty pedestrian 3.77 ERA and 1.27 WHIP in 33 games (19 starts) at Triple-A Round Rock. He also picked up only 85 strikeouts in 126.2 innings.

This won’t be an easy matchup for Sampson, who will have to contend with the likes of Mike Trout, Justin Upton and a very hot Shohei Ohtani.

If Sampson is having difficulty striking batters out, the Angels figure to benefit from constantly putting the ball in play off this 26-year-old right-hander.

Get this over bet in right away, as the only potential line movement I can see would be upward.

Play: OVER 9 (-110)