Saturday’s MLB Over/Under: Hamels, Fiers Meet in Motown


Jerome Miron, USA Today Sports

OK, just how we wanted to start the weekend, with a (mostly) sweat-free Rays-Mets Under 7 wager getting the job done. That’s just the first night of the weekend, so let’s move on to the next.

Zylbert’s 2018 MLB Over/Under Betting Record: 58-37-2, +17.15 units
Yesterday’s Result: Rays-Mets Under 7, Stanek vs. deGrom (WIN)
*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit

Texas Rangers @ Detroit Tigers | O/U: 9
4:10 p.m. ET
Probable Pitchers: Cole Hamels (4-7, 4.05 ERA) vs. Mike Fiers (5-5, 3.79 ERA)

It’s always worth paying attention when a starting pitcher who figures to be a popular trade target for contending teams is about to make a start close to the trade deadline. That is indeed the case for both these hurlers who will toe the rubber Saturday afternoon in Detroit.

Luckily, Cole Hamels and Mike Fiers have been on this rodeo before — in fact, both were dealt in the same season just prior to the 2015 trade deadline — so they know how to deal with all the off-the-field stuff and stick to their game.

That’s exactly what we’d like from Fiers, who has really been hitting his stride as of late. In fact, he’s logged 15 innings pitched in his last two assignments, only his second time doing so across back-to-back outings for his career, and he yielded just a single run in each start.

Fiers will be in his comfort zone today to keep the excellent stretch going, as he’s typically been a better pitcher throughout his career at home compared to on the road. In his first season with the Tigers, he’s remained keen on that trend, registering a 3.19 ERA at Comerica Park that easily bests his 4.43 ERA in starts away from home. He’s also been considerably better this year during the daytime (2-0, 2.67 ERA, 1.05 WHIP) than at night (3-5, 4.33 ERA, 1.30 WHIP).

And if you’re pondering whether or not the 33-year-old can handle the Rangers’ slugging offense, Fiers had success when he faced them earlier this year in Arlington, limiting them to two runs in five-plus innings, while punching out five and walking none. Interestingly, it was his only outing this year that did not see him issue a walk. It’s worth pointing out Texas’ offense has recorded more strikeouts than all but one team (White Sox) in baseball.

Hamels, on the other hand, has not been so hot lately, allowing 11 runs over his last two starts, including a season-high seven his last time out at home against the White Sox. That’s something we can use to our advantage, though, as it’s rare someone the caliber of the former World Series MVP gets knocked around for three straight outings.

It will also help that Hamels is making this assignment on the road, where he’s understandably been much better this year. In eight road starts, he’s 3-1 with a 2.05 ERA and 1.14 WHIP as opposing hitters have managed a miniscule .203 batting average off the veteran southpaw. That trend may continue, with Detroit being a much friendlier setting for pitchers than Texas.

Play: UNDER 9 (-115)

Follow me on Twitter @MattZylbert

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