Thursday’s MLB Over/Under: How Does Johnny Cueto’s Return Impact Cardinals-Giants?

Thursday’s MLB Over/Under: How Does Johnny Cueto’s Return Impact Cardinals-Giants? article feature image

Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Johnny Cueto.

If only all of the wins came as easy as yesterday’s Rays-Marlins under 8 bet, which was victorious without a sweat — the Marlins won 3-0 after the game was scoreless entering the bottom of the sixth.

Zylbert’s 2018 MLB Over/Under Betting Record: 57-36-2, +17.15 units

Yesterday’s Result: Rays-Marlins under 8, Andriese vs. Urena (WIN)

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

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St. Louis Cardinals @ San Francisco Giants | Over/under: 7.5

10:15 p.m. ET (MLB Network; Joined in Progress)

Probable Pitchers: Luke Weaver (4-7, 5.16 ERA) vs. Johnny Cueto (3-0, 0.84 ERA)

Finally, it’s the return of Johnny Cueto to the Giants’ rotation, as the former NL Cy Young runner-up will make his first start after sitting out more than two months with a sprained elbow.

The former Cincinnati Reds ace hasn’t been seen on a big league mound since April 28, when he recorded his fifth quality start of the season in five tries. Cueto was off to a tremendous start in 2018 prior to his elbow injury, with a 3-0 record, 0.84 ERA and 0.69 WHIP, while limiting the opposition to a minuscule .150 batting average. He also yielded only one home run in 32 innings.

While relying on a starting pitcher in his first start after a lengthy absence can be problematic, there’s a little more clarity here involving the veteran right-hander’s outlook this evening. Cueto made two rehab starts throughout the end of June, logging 7.2 shutout innings and allowing only six total baserunners. He also struck out 10. Suffice it to say, Johnny Beisbol appears ready for a return in San Francisco.

He also may be in a position to take off again right out of the gate, as Cueto has enjoyed some success versus the Cardinals. Since joining the Giants in 2016, the 32-year-old has gone 2-0 with a 1.77 ERA in three meetings with the Redbirds. Plus, he’s had success against some of their top hitters over the course of his career, specifically Matt Carpenter (.217), Marcell Ozuna (.200) and Dexter Fowler (.158).

We’ll also hope to catch Luke Weaver in a fruitful spot, which figures to be a little more difficult considering his struggles as of late. In fact, he’s surrendered at least four runs in four of his past five starts, including a season-high eight in his last home game opposite Atlanta. This recent stretch has stained what was a solid start for Weaver to his third major league campaign, as he now sports a 5.16 ERA and 1.45 WHIP.

But the 24-year-old is much better than that, and perhaps an assignment at pitcher-friendly AT&T Park can get his season turned around. After all, Weaver has actually made two starts against the Giants — both on the road in the Bay Area — and he’s produced a 1-1 record to go with a 1.86 ERA in those outings.

Weaver’s biggest weakness lately has been allowing home runs; he surrendered five long balls in his past three starts after allowing only seven in his previous 14 outings. Fortunately for the St. Louis right-hander, the Giants have hit fewer home runs than all but three National League clubs, so perhaps that can aid the 2014 first-round draft selection.

With the over currently being juiced, there’s a chance the over/under line inflates to 8, so wait it out in case that indeed happens. If not, the under at 7.5 is still worth riding.

Play: Under 7.5/8

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