Los Angeles Angels at Tampa Bay Rays
First pitch: 4:10 p.m. PT
Probable pitchers: Andrew Heaney (0-1, 5.40 ERA) vs. Blake Snell (4-5, 3.50 ERA)
It’s always nice to have two pitchers in advantageous spots when seeking out a low-scoring outcome. It’s even better when said pitchers are two of the best southpaws in the league who are also trending toward their norm.
One is a starter everyone knows, Snell, last year’s American League Cy Young Award winner. While the 26-year-old has looked much more human this year, Snell’s actually pitched better than his overall numbers may suggest.
For instance, Snell has logged a 2.93 FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching) — which is actually a couple ticks lower than his FIP from a season ago (2.95) — indicating that he’s performed better than his uncharacteristic 3.50 ERA.
Additionally, he’s still holding opponents to a minuscule .224 batting average, and his strikeout rate is currently at a career high (12.25 K/9) as well. More times than not, Snell has showcased his signature dominance. In all but three of his 13 starts, he’s yielded only two earned runs or fewer.
Snell gets a somewhat juicy opportunity for another standout performance this evening despite having to face a few of the most potent hitters in the game. The Angels tied for the lowest team batting average (.224) against left-handed pitching in baseball last year and have only shown slight improvement there (.243).
Tampa Bay fares better with a lefty on the hill, clocking in with a .262 team batting average in that department, but their high frequency to strike out opposite left-handers makes them prone to a quiet night at the dish when facing a strikeout artist.
Well, Heaney — one of my favorite pitchers in the game — definitely fits that bill, as he’s lived up to that reputation since coming off the “injured list” a few weeks ago prior to his make his 2019 debut. Heaney has made three starts thus far and compiled a whopping 28-3 K/BB ratio in just 16.2 innings, striking out 10 in each of his last two assignments.
He only sports that 5.40 ERA because he’s been bitten by the long ball, surrendering two home runs in each of his outings. Luckily, the Rays aren’t a very powerful team — not just in general but especially with a southpaw on the hill. For the season, Tampa cranks out a homer once every 26.54 at-bats but when a left-hander is dealing, it’s considerably higher, being once every 31.09 ABs.
Be sure to get this under in right away, as the total isn’t going anywhere but down. Play: UNDER 7.5 (-120)
Yesterday’s Result: Blue Jays-Orioles Under 9.5 (loss)
Zylbert’s 2019 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*: 37-34-6, -0.85 unit
*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit
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