Zylbert: Bullpens Will Be Key for NLCS Game 6 Over/Under

Zylbert: Bullpens Will Be Key for NLCS Game 6 Over/Under article feature image

Benny Sieu, USA Today Sports. Pictured: Josh Hader

Betting odds: Los Angeles Dodgers at Milwaukee Brewers

  • Over/Under: 8
  • First pitch: 8:39 p.m. ET
  • Probable pitchers: Hyun-jin Ryu (7-, 1.97 ERA) vs. Wade Miley (5-2, 2.57 ERA)
  • TV channel: FS1

Zylbert’s 2018 MLB Over/Under Betting Record

Regular Season: 102-73-4, +21.45 units
Postseason: 6-8-1, -3.5 units
Thursday’s Result: Red Sox-Astros Under 8, Price vs. Verlander (WIN)

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

Unlike in the American League, which saw a bulk of overs in its Championship Series, the National League version has played out in an opposite manner. Pitching has outweighed offense en route to a 3-1-1 record for under bets in the first five games.

Will that same trend continue in this potential series-deciding NLCS Game 6?

Wade Miley is expected to get his fair share of work in this one after uniquely being deployed for only one batter in the last game. Fortunately, I don’t think we have to worry about him coming out after such an abbreviated outing again, which makes this over/under easier to handicap.

When he was allowed to make a real start in this series, the 31-year-old shined by dealing 5.2 shutout innings and allowing just two baserunners in Game 2.

While there is undoubtedly more pressure in this assignment, with Miley in a win-or-go-home scenario, he does have the comfort of knowing that Milwaukee’s entire relief core (except for Brandon Woodruff) will be available. All hands will be on deck, so the pressure won’t be there for him to go deep into the ballgame.

Miley was successful against the Dodgers in the regular season. He faced them twice during this past season, notched 13 innings and allowed one unearned run.

The potential for a similar performance is there against a Dodger lineup that has continued to struggle with left-handed pitching. For the postseason, Los Angeles has managed a poor .191/.280/.258 slash line opposite southpaws while plating a total of four runs in 89 at-bats.

The Brewers haven’t been much better on that front, owning a .234/.317/375 line opposite lefties this postseason. They’re about to encounter another one, too, as Hyun-jin Ryu tangles with Miley in this Game 2 rematch.

Like with his counterpart, Ryu doesn’t have the pressure of pitching deep in this potential series-clinching game. That’s a good thing, with manager Dave Roberts having all options at his disposal. LA’s bullpen has a 1.25 ERA in 21.2 innings of work for the series.

Another key component that could pave the way for some quality work from Ryu is that he’ll have the defensive specialist Austin Barnes behind the plate rather than Yasmani Grandal (whose brutal showing defensively in Game 1 led to the only over of the series).

In his four starts pitching to Barnes during the regular season, Ryu was untouchable, yielding only one single run (!) on four starts, resulting in a 0.38 ERA in those outings, spanning 23.2 innings. Barnes’ bat is also less impactful than Grandal, making him a welcome addition for this bet.

This year’s NLCS has been littered with offensive woes. Milwaukee has scored 16 runs total in this series while managing an unpleasant .219 average and .653 OPS. The Dodgers, meanwhile, have also only scored 16 runs to go with a .220 mark and .599 OPS.

Look for the shortcomings at the plate to continue, especially when both clubs begin delving into their talent-filled bullpens. I got this under at 8, and while it’s dropped to 7.5 at a lot of places, I’d still recommend the bet at that number.

Play: UNDER 8 (-125)