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Thursday’s MLB Over/Under: Handicapping Jacob Nix’s Second Career Start

Credit:

Mandatory Credit: Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Jacob Nix (63).

Betting odds: Arizona Diamondbacks at San Diego Padres

  • Over/Under: 8
  • First pitch: 10:10 p.m. ET (MLB Network)
  • Probable Pitchers: Clay Buchholz (5-2, 2.67 ERA) vs. Jacob Nix (1-0, 0.00 ERA)

Zylbert’s 2018 MLB Over/Under Betting Record: 79-51-3, +22.6 units

Yesterday’s Result: Marlins-Braves Under 8.5, Urena vs. Gausman (WIN)

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


Well, not how I drew it up in last night’s Marlins-Braves Under 8.5 wager. Jose Urena became the talk of baseball for getting ejected after just one pitch when he drilled Atlanta’s rookie sensation Ronald Acuna to start off the ballgame.

Luckily, the Miami pen was able to overcome that deep hole and help manufacture a low-scoring affair for the under.

Last Friday night, San Diego showcased its 2015 third-round draft pick, Nix, in his first career start. It turned out to be a dandy, as the 22-year-old right-hander easily dispatched the playoff-contending Phillies with six shutout innings over which he yielded only six baserunners. He retired 13 of the final 14 batters he faced, a strong sign he was settling in nicely.


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So, what will Nix do for an encore? Is he legit?

Mentally, he certainly appears to be, as his catcher Austin Hedges even said afterward, “You couldn’t even tell it was his debut.” Manager Andy Green added: “I could tell he was comfortable in his own skin. … He was bigger than this moment. That was a lot of fun to see.”

Nix echoed those sentiments, saying: “I like to keep it loose. I like to act the same no matter what environment I’m in.”

His poise and composure — even when he faced a bases-loaded jam in his first inning in the majors — look to be way ahead of the curve, and thus, I think he can already be trustworthy in trying to maintain a score on the low side.

His on-field performance certainly merits that trust, as he churned out a stellar 1.84 ERA, 0.90 WHIP (!) and .215 batting average against in 10 starts between Triple-A El Paso and Double-A San Antonio, while allowing just three home runs over 58.2 innings.

Nix doesn’t record a bunch of strikeouts, but he keeps the walks down and trusts his stuff, which will suit him well at pitcher-friendly Petco Park.

That’s a quality that can also be found in his counterpart tonight, Buchholz, who admits to pitching to contact as a result of having one of baseball’s best defenses behind him.

He doesn’t throw 96 mph anymore like he did in his heyday with the Red Sox, but this new version of Buchholz has emerged nonetheless. He’s 5-2 with a 2.67 ERA and 1.14 WHIP in 11 starts since joining Arizona after opting out of a minor-league deal with the Royals earlier in the season.

Buchholz has been notably consistent in his time with the Diamondbacks, pitching into the sixth inning or deeper and allowing no more than three earned runs in all but one of his outings.

Clearly, he’s gotten comfortable with his new organization, and some of that can be attributed to manager Tory Luvallo, who was one of his coaches in Boston for a handful of years.

That level of comfort and his current success can potentially help carry Buchholz to another successful showing in this series opener. With the over/under line as high as 8, there will be some room for error between the two hurlers as well.

Play: UNDER 8 (-110)

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