Sunday’s MLB Over/Under: Will Rays’ ‘Bullpen Game’ Keep Surging?

Sunday’s MLB Over/Under: Will Rays’ ‘Bullpen Game’ Keep Surging? article feature image

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Ryne Stanek

  • The Tampa Bay Rays have had success in their "bullpen games." Will it continue with Ryne Stanek on the hill to start the game?
  • He'll face Minnesota's Fernando Romero, who was recently sent down to the minors and has mediocre numbers (4.38 ERA, 1.34 WHIP).

Hard to believe we’ve arrived at the final day before the All-Star break. The pleasure has been all mine in providing each of you with these over/unders on a daily basis, but I must say I am very much looking forward to some days off. Before that, though, we still have one game remaining. Let’s get to it.

Zylbert’s 2018 MLB Over/Under Betting Record: 63-39-3, +19.95 units

Yesterday’s Result: Royals-White Sox Under 9 (WIN)

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

Tampa Bay Rays @ Minnesota Twins | O/U: 9

2:10 p.m. ET
Probable Pitchers: Ryne Stanek (1-2, 1.93 ERA) vs. Fernando Romero (3-3, 4.38 ERA)

Here we go again, another Rays “bullpen game” under, a strategy that has stitched plenty of success for me since Tampa Bay started deploying it on May 19. In fact, they even have the best team ERA in the majors from that date on.

We’ll be starting with Ryne Stanek on the hill in this one, which is one of the main reasons to buy into this under. He’s by far the most experienced opener used out of the bullpen, as this will be his 12th “start” and the under has gone 7-3-1 in the previous 11 — and only one of those outcomes involved a total of more than nine runs.

I’ve covered before how Stanek typically only goes two innings in this role, but that’s OK because opposing batters are hitting a minuscule .123 (7-for-57) off the 26-year-old when he begins a ballgame. Furthermore, opponents have scratched across only a pair of runs total in 16.2 innings.

Remember, too, that with this being the final game before the All-Star break, manager Kevin Cash will have all hands on deck (at least all the significant ones) as far as the bullpen is concerned. That’s only a good thing considering how well Cash has played matchups.

That brings us to Minnesota’s starting hurler today, Fernando Romero, who appears to be back on track after getting sent down a few weeks ago (despite the fact he was still pitching serviceably).

Romero took it in stride and performed well in his three minor league starts before being summoned for this last game before the break. He’s probably been better than his overall numbers (4.38 ERA, 1.34 WHIP), too, as they were skewed a bit by one really bad start in Kansas City at the end of May. Aside from that, he allowed three earned runs or fewer in all but one of his nine other starts.

Romero has definitely exhibited staying power at the major league level with potential to establish himself as a strikeout artist. That might be on display here, considering the Rays’ offense has recorded the fourth-most strikeouts per game (8.84) in the league as a team.

One other thing to note: Rays All-Star catcher Wilson Ramos will miss today’s game after suffering an injury yesterday. Replacing him behind the plate will be dead-bat Jesus Sucre, which represents an enormous downgrade that you like to see in unders with a relatively high line. Speaking of which, you’ll want to get this under in as soon as you can, with a chance it drops to 8.5.

Play: UNDER 9 (-110)