Thursday’s MLB Over/Under: Can Glenn Sparkman Ignite Cleveland’s Lineup?

Thursday’s MLB Over/Under: Can Glenn Sparkman Ignite Cleveland’s Lineup? article feature image

Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Glenn Sparkman (57) at Tropicana Field.

Betting odds: Cleveland Indians at Kansas City Royals 

  • Over/Under: 9.5
  • First Pitch: 8:15 p.m. ET
  • Probable Pitchers: Josh Tomlin (2-5, 6.44 ERA) vs. Glenn Sparkman (0-3, 4.86 ERA)

Zylbert’s 2018 MLB Over/Under Betting Record: 100-71-4, +21.55 units

Yesterday’s Result: Rangers-Angels Under 8.5, Mendez vs. Heaney (WIN)

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

The last series of the season can bring out all sorts of favorable matchups from a betting perspective, which should be the case in this four-game tilt.

Cleveland will have Tomlin on the mound, and considering how rare it is when the 33-year-old makes a start these days, it’s worthy of attention.

The right-hander has been a disaster as a starter in recent memory. For instance, in 26 starts a year ago, he put up a 4.98 ERA and .294 batting average against.

Both of those marks were his worst since 2012 — that is, until this season. Tomlin’s overall stat line consists of a 6.44 ERA, but when used as a starter, that number balloons to an unsightly 7.82. In all but two of his eight starting assignments, he has given up at least four runs.

Opposing Tomlin will be Sparkman, who just might exemplify the phrase bottom-of-the-rotation starter more than any other first-year starting pitcher this year.

The rookie right-hander has pitched mostly in relief, making 12 of his 14 appearances out of the bullpen. Based on his splits, he seems to perform best in this role, etching a 4.62 ERA over 25.1 innings while surrendering only two homers.

As a starter, however, he’s pitched to the tune of a 5.63 ERA and 1.88 WHIP, albeit in two starts, but in each, Sparkman failed to get past the fourth inning. That also means there figures to be a lot of activity from Kansas City’s AL-worst bullpen, which ranks last in the league with a pitiful 5.01 ERA.

In addition, Sparkman simply may have some difficulties dealing with an Indians lineup that doesn’t strike out often. He doesn’t fan a lot of batters as it is, and with Cleveland continually putting the ball in play off this youngster, it’s possible the Indians strike for a crooked number on the scoreboard.

Play: OVER 9.5 (-110)