Tuesday’s MLB Over/Under: Handicapping Another Rays Bullpen Game

Tuesday’s MLB Over/Under: Handicapping Another Rays Bullpen Game article feature image

Noah K. Murray, USA Today Sports

The Mets and Phillies were scoring early yesterday but we still managed to escape with a win as the bullpens held up in a 4-3 extra-inning win for the Mets.

Zylbert’s 2018 MLB Over/Under Betting Record: 59-38-3, +17.05 units
Yesterday’s Result: Phillies-Mets Under 8, Eflin vs. Wheeler (WIN)
*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit

Detroit Tigers @ Tampa Bay Rays | O/U: 7.5
7:10 p.m. ET
Probable Pitchers: Matthew Boyd (4-7, 4.58 ERA) vs. Ryne Stanek (1-2, 2.12 ERA)

Twice in the last seven days, I have pursued and emerged victorious on unders involving this eye-opening Rays’ “bullpen day” strategy, and I will seek the same result here even after these two clubs tallied a combined 19 runs in last night’s series opener at the Trop.

One of the keys, of course, in leaning on this philosophy for another under tonight has to do with Stanek serving as “the opener,” which he has done more than any other Rays reliever by far. In fact, this will be his 11th “start” for Tampa Bay, and while he hasn’t gone more than two innings in any outing, the second-year hurler has still contributed enough to help pace the under toward a 6-3-1 record in those games.

In fact — as covered in his last start on Friday in a winning under — the 2013 first-round draft choice has churned out a 1.23 ERA and 0.89 WHIP in 14.2 innings. That’s considerably better than the numbers he’s posted out of the bullpen (3.00 ERA, 1.13 WHIP, 10.8 K/9) within almost an identical sample size (15 IP). Furthermore, opposing batters have now mustered only six hits in 50 at-bats (.120) when Stanek is on the hill to begin a ballgame.

From there, Ryan Yarbrough is expected to pick up from wherever Stanek leaves off, and that’s a good thing. Not only has the rookie manufactured a respectable 3.75 ERA and 8.25 K/9 mark in 84 innings, the left-hander will also present the Tigers with an instantly different look at about the second trip through the batting order after taking over for the right-handed Stanek.

But we also must endure the uneasiness that is Boyd, who enters tonight’s outing on a down stretch. He’s yielded five runs or more in three of his last four starts, something he hadn’t done once in his first 13 starts of the campaign. His ERA has ballooned almost a full run-and-a-half in the process, from 3.23 to 4.58.

So, can Boyd’s season be salvaged? He’s certainly not as bad as what he’s given the Tigers lately, and it looks like his biggest issue as of late has been the long ball, as he’s up five home runs in his last four starts, spanning just 17 innings. That’s significant because he was tagged for only six homers in his first 75.1 innings this season.

Fortunately for the 27-year-old, he’ll be taking on the team that has walloped the fifth-fewest home runs (80) in all of baseball, including the second-fewest (32) at home. Boyd also had success opposite the Rays earlier this season, picking up one of his four wins on the year thanks to six innings of one-run ball in which he fanned seven. Boyd doesn’t even really have to be at his best here, with the over/under line here.

I originally played this line at 8, but it’s still a solid bet at 7.5.

Play: UNDER 7.5 (-125)

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