Wednesday’s MLB Over/Under: What to Make of Chen vs. Flaherty

Wednesday’s MLB Over/Under: What to Make of Chen vs. Flaherty article feature image

Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports

To quote the great Tony Kornheiser, “It’s happy time, people.” I able to snap my three-game losing streak in last night’s Rays-Nationals Under 7 bet (and avoid dropping to 0-3 on Max Scherzer totals). Here’s what I’ve got on tap for today.

Zylbert’s 2018 MLB Over/Under Betting Record: 42-22-2, +17.5 units

Yesterday’s Result: Rays-Nationals Under 7 (WIN)

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

Miami Marlins @ St. Louis Cardinals | O/U: 8.5

8:15 p.m. ET

Probable Pitchers: Wei-Yin Chen (1-3, 6.10 ERA) vs. Jack Flaherty (2-1, 2.62 ERA)

The Marlins went off for an unlikely crooked number in last night’s series opener between these two clubs, plating seven runs en route to defeating Cardinals staff ace Carlos Martinez. Will they follow it up with more of the same opposite impressive youngster Jack Flaherty at Busch?

It would seem that is less likely to happen. One, Miami, even after the standout offensive effort, is still averaging a mere 3.38 runs per game this season, which is by far the lowest output in all of baseball. They’re also dead-last as a team in homers (45) and OPS (.650). Furthermore, their success at the dish last night isn’t really indicative of their performance of late, as the Marlins have scored three or fewer runs in seven of their past 10 games.

They’re certainly going to need to string together some productive at-bats against Flaherty. The 22-year-old rookie sensation has been mostly terrific thus far, sporting a 2.62 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and .226 BAA to go along with his impressive 9.44 K/9 mark. He’s been pretty consistent, too, allowing no more than three earned runs in any of his six starts, while pitching at least five innings in each outing. This is someone who clearly has a very bright future on the St. Louis pitching staff and is already experiencing notable success as a freshman.

Chen, the Miami lefty, knows what it’s like to get out to a nice start in the big leagues, considering he put together a few solid campaigns to begin his career in Baltimore. But since coming over to the National League and joining the Marlins, it’s been all downhill. To be fair, a lot of that has been related to injury, so Chen is still in the process of finding his footing.

However, the Taiwanese southpaw has shown flashes, including two starts ago when Chen was absolutely dialed in and held a tough Nationals lineup in check to the tune of only one run in 7.1 innings, to go with a season-best six strikeouts. That actually culminated a stretch during which Chen yielded just three runs total over three starts; and even though the 32-year-old hurler having a rough go his last time out in San Diego, there is reason to believe he can get back on track.

First off, Chen apparently didn’t have a long leash based on his control, as he ran into trouble thanks to a pair of two-out walks he issued against the Padres. Manager Don Mattingly had seen enough, as the portsider threw just 27 of his 47 pitches for strikes, but if there’s a positive from that, it means an embarrassed Chen should be more aggressive and in the strike zone in his next effort this evening.

He’ll get a lineup that hasn’t experienced the upmost success against lefties. In fact, the Cardinals are hitting just .227 against southpaws, which ranks third-worst in the NL. Their 55 runs scored against left-handed pitching is also the third-fewest in the league, as well.

Obviously, Chen’s numbers for the season don’t look good at all, but he’s due for better days ahead, as indicated by his 5.78 xFIP. In addition, it’s interesting to note that Chen is actually generating the lowest line-drive contact of his career — only 17% — which means he figures to start receiving better luck sooner than later. No need to wait around before solidifying your action on the under, with the line holding steady at 8.5 all day.

Play: UNDER 8.5 (-110)