Friday’s MLB Over/Under: Taillon, Mikolas Meet For Second Time In Six Days

Friday’s MLB Over/Under: Taillon, Mikolas Meet For Second Time In Six Days article feature image

Jeff Curry, USA Today Sports

We just keep rolling along in over/unders, as last night’s Cubs-Mets Under 8 triumph gave me seven wins in a row and 11 wins in our last 12 games. I have a perfect week in my sights, but that could happen only with a flawless weekend, so let’s keep it going through Friday.

Zylbert’s 2018 MLB Over/Under Betting Record: 40-19-2, +18.7 units
Yesterday’s Result: Cubs-Mets Under 8, Quintana vs. Lugo (WIN)
*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit

Pittsburgh Pirates @ St. Louis Cardinals | O/U: 8
8:15 p.m. ET
Probable Pitchers: Jameson Taillon (2-4, 4.53 ERA) vs. Miles Mikolas (6-0, 2.58 ERA)

Oh boy, I’ve been waiting for this since 2014. You’d think I would be most giddy about the presence of Taillon — whom I’m 5-1 with thus far this season in totals — but my excitement actually stems from this being my first bet involving Mikolas since he was last in the major leagues four years ago.

The one starting pitcher I’ve ever interviewed in my life was actually Mikolas, with whom I talked following his first year in Japan of 2015. As it would turn out, the 29-year-old would spend a total of three years there, where he put up some pretty incredible numbers en route to scoring his current multi-year deal with the Redbirds, who must be very pleased with their investment.

Mikolas has pitched like an All-Star through his first two months back in the States, going 6-0 with a real stingy 2.58 ERA and 0.98 WHIP. He’s done his best work in the early going in front of Cardinals faithful, as he’s surrendered a grand total of just six runs (five earned) in his four starts at Busch Stadium — four of which came in his home debut, meaning he’s yielded just a single earned run in his last three home outings.

He’ll also be going up against a familiar opponent, as this is his third date with the Buccos this year. In fact, Mikolas just faced them his last time out, and while the Pirates tagged him for four runs in six innings in that effort, he also recorded a seven-inning, two-run performance opposite Pittsburgh in St. Louis at the end of April. Fortunately, that is where he’ll be working from this evening.

Taillon squared off with Mikolas in their most recent start last Sunday, faring a bit better than his counterpart did by notching a quality start — 6.1 innings of three-run ball, to be specific, along with six strikeouts, his third-most in an outing this season. That’s exactly the direction where we want Taillon to be headed after he allowed six runs in Cincinnati on May 22.

It looks like the former No. 2 overall draft pick is starting to rack up Ks more regularly, as he also garnered a season-high eight punch-outs in the previous outing, giving him 14 strikeouts over his last 12.1 innings. That’s notable because he’s now averaging 8.43 K/9 for the season, a career best.

Can he keep putting away hitters consistently via the strikeout? Well, the addition of a new slider to his repertoire certainly will help. In his last effort against St. Louis, he threw the pitch more than 30 times, according to Fangraphs, and churned out an impressive 23% whiff-rate with the pitch, which could explain his recent spike in Ks. If he’s got that pitch rolling again tonight, Taillon can keep trending up.

As it is, Taillon is already someone I like riding in under bets when he’s in his groove, and that appears to be the case right now. If we combine that with the usual quality work from Mikolas, that figures to put us in a position to secure the under.

Play: UNDER 8 (-110)