Tuesday’s MLB Over/Under: Handicapping a San Diego Bullpen Game

Tuesday’s MLB Over/Under: Handicapping a San Diego Bullpen Game article feature image

Orlando Ramirez, USA Today Sports

Well, we were cruising in last night’s Pirates-Diamondbacks Under 7.5 bet until some sloppy managing took place. So, let’s just move on to Tuesday.

Zylbert’s 2018 MLB Over/Under Betting Record: 43-27-2, +13.1 units
Yesterday’s Result: Pirates-Diamondbacks Under 7.5, Musgrove vs. Corbin (loss)
*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit

San Diego Padres @ St. Louis Cardinals | O/U: 8.5
8:15 p.m. ET
Probable Pitchers: Matt Strahm (1-2, 3.07 ERA) vs. Miles Mikolas (7-1, 2.27 ERA)

Normally, I will typically veer away from a “bullpen” game, which is exactly what the Padres are going with this evening at Busch Stadium. But, based on what San Diego’s relief core has done this season, and the success they’ve had deploying this strategy with rookie starter Joey Lucchesi on the disabled list, it deserves serious consideration to back for an under wager.

First off, it’s important to note exactly how solid the Padres’ bullpen has been thus far while accumulating the fourth-most innings in all of baseball. In fact, they rank seventh with a stingy 3.22 ERA and have racked up the fourth-most strikeouts as well. Furthermore, they’re eighth in batting average against (.226) and sixth in on-base percentage (.298) and slugging percentage allowed (.354). Certainly, this is a group that has developed into a reliable entity and is one main reason why San Diego is almost back to the .500 mark.

The “starter” who will be kicking things off in this effort is Matt Strahm, a really talented young left-hander whom the Friars acquired last year before the trade deadline in the Trevor Cahill deal. I have no doubts he’s going to be a success in the big leagues as a full-time starter but in the meantime, he’s doing nice work out of the bullpen, including in this role starting off the bullpen game strategy.

Strahm picked up the honors during this last turn in the rotation, tossing 2.1 innings of one-run ball, picking up a pair of K’s and walking none. It’s also possible he’s allowed to go deeper than that this time around by manager Andy Green. And when he’s finished, the Padres have a fresh slew of relievers ready to roll — since they only used one yesterday, which followed an off day — consisting of such useful arms like Craig Stammen, Kirby Yates and All-Star closer Brad Hand. The advantage of having a full bullpen on deck for this assignment is being able to play any matchup you want and having more options.

If this works out again for the Padres — they beat Atlanta, 3-1, last Wednesday when they last implemented the “bullpen” game — that means we can be on our way toward an under victory with the usual efficient pitching from possible All-Star Miles Mikolas, who has been absolutely sensational in his return to the majors. Under backers also get the benefit of Mikolas facing off with the team that drafted him, something that can add some extra motivation.

Overall this season, Mikolas boasts a 2.27 ERA, 0.96 WHIP and .225 BAA and those numbers improve when he’s at home. In six starts at Busch Stadium the ‘Lizard King’ owns a 1.28 ERA and 0.85 WHIP in his six starts in the Lou. Since allowing four runs in his first home assignment of the year, Mikolas has yielded one earned run or fewer in each of his last five spins at home. Remarkably, the 29-year-old has also not surrendered any homers at Busch Stadium.

About a month ago, Mikolas took on the Padres in San Diego and churned out a terrific performance, holding them to one run on five hits in 6.2 innings, picking up four strikeouts and on walk along the way. If he can provide another such effort in line with that one, this under looks like it will be in good shape.

Play: UNDER 8.5 (-110)