Friday’s MLB Over/Under: Junis, Montas Set to Clash at Coliseum

Friday’s MLB Over/Under: Junis, Montas Set to Clash at Coliseum article feature image

Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Jakob Junis

The Highlights

  • Royals pitcher Jakob Junis has been striking batters out at a higher rate. He had a good outing against the A’s in April.
  • Frankie Montas figures to see an uptick in his strikeout numbers soon.

No matter how you slice it — Cole vs. Hamels, Gerrit vs. Cole — yesterday’s Rangers-Astros Under 9 was a decisive under victory for us. Now we’ve arrived to Friday, so let’s see how I’m kicking off the weekend.

Zylbert’s 2018 MLB Over/Under Betting Record: 43-23-2, +17.4 units

Yesterday’s Result: Astros-Rangers Under 9 (WIN)

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

Kansas City Royals @ Oakland Athletics

10:05 p.m. ET

Probable Pitchers: Jakob Junis (5-5, 3.62 ERA) vs. Frankie Montas (2-0, 0.64 ERA)

It can be tricky going after a matchup involving two pitchers who just faced tonight’s opponent their last time out. But given my standing with both these right-handers, I’m comfortable proceeding with this as my over/under for the evening.

Junis, of course, was one of my top three sleepers entering the campaign, and he hasn’t let me down one bit. In fact, his season has almost been All-Star worthy, as the 25-year-old enters this latest assignment with a very solid 3.62 ERA, 1.13 WHIP and .231 batting average against. Furthermore, he’s striking batters out considerably more than he did a year ago as a rookie, registering an 8.56 K/9 mark. In 2017, that number sat at 7.32.

In his last start, Junis suffered a defeat at the hands of the A’s, but you could argue he wasn’t deserving of such. After all, the former 29th-round draft pick registered his deepest outing since the latter half of April by going 7.1 innings and impressively striking out a career-high nine compared to only one walk. He allowed three runs — all coming in his final inning of work — so there is optimism that Junis can churn out another productive outing.

At the very least, we should expect Junis to eat up innings while pacing us for this under. He’s pitched into the sixth inning or deeper in all but one of his 12 starts, and he can be excused for the one time where he did not back on April 14, when it was literally snowing throughout his outing. I like him to keep his momentum going here.

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And then we have Montas, who is getting set to make his third start of the year since being called up. As I proclaimed going into his season debut in what turned out to be a winning under, he has significant potential, perhaps enough to settle in as a regular upper-rotation starter in the big leagues for years to come.

Montas has certainly looked the part thus far, only yielding one run in his two assignments, which actually came against the Arizona two weeks ago. When he squared off with the Royals last Friday, he threw eight shutout innings en route to a 16-0 win. Fortunately, I don’t think we have to worry about Junis getting roughed up for such a crooked number.

While Montas only recorded two strikeouts in the effort, he also limited the Royals to seven baserunners, and it’s probable that we can lean on the 25-year-old for more K’s. At the moment, he’s only garnered 5.79 K/9, but based on his minor league numbers, there figures to be an uptick in that department. He was only averaging 7.24 K/9 at Triple-A Nashville prior to his call-up, but last year before coming to the majors as a reliever, he had recorded an outstanding 11.35 K/9. In 2016 — also in Triple-A, but with the Dodgers’ affiliate — Montas averaged 11.91 K/9, which shouldn’t be surprising given that he throws cheddar. To be specific, his average fastball sits at 97 miles per hour. Look for more quality pitching from Montas either way to hopefully help cash this under wager.

Play: UNDER 7.5 (-110)