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Oakland Athletics at Cleveland Indians

Over/Under: 8.5

First pitch: 3:10 p.m. PT

Probable pitchers: Chris Bassitt (2-1, 1.93 ERA) vs. Trevor Bauer (4-2, 3.76 ERA)

In the last Bauer start five days ago, which came against struggling Dan Straily and the Baltimore Orioles (a game I lost), the over/under settled in at 9. As I wrote about, that isn’t common when the former No. 3 overall draft pick is on the bump in The Land.

Fast forward to his next outing, involving an encounter with an actual good starting pitcher and solid bullpen, and the total is just a mere half-run lower. Although Oakland’s lineup is more dangerous than Baltimore’s, that just shouldn’t be — especially if A’s slugger Khris Davis (hip) remains out.

Despite some really strong work through his first five starts, Bassitt continues to get saddled with relatively high over/under lines. This, even when the 30-year-old also showed this type of breakout potential last year when he finally returned following Tommy John surgery. And of course, there was shades of a serious ascension prior to the injury.

So, why isn’t it being accepted that Bassitt has arrived? Well, until the oddsmakers adjust, I’ll attempt to profit off their potential mistake when I see an opportunity for it, like when he’s squaring off with a pitcher the caliber of Bauer.

Yes, the eight-year vet has been mired in an uncharacteristic rough patch lately. But when you’re as good and determined as Bauer, those stretches don’t last long. Besides, the one positive outing in this recent poor three-start span actually came against these same A’s, whom he limited to only a pair of unearned runs and struck out 10 across seven sharp innings.

Bauer knows how to tame this batting order and figures to be completely locked in order to get out of his rut. His job will be considerably easier if the aforementioned Davis is still on the bench, which seems more likely than not.

This is significant because the A’s would be missing what is clearly the biggest piece of their offense. To illustrate how valuable he is to their lineup, just look at their production without him. Oakland scored three runs or fewer in 8 of 11 games last year — and averaged 3.18 runs in those games — while Davis was sidelined; this season in the six games he’s been absent, they topped three runs in half of those but managed only 3.17 runs on average. It’s going toned difficult to top that opposite one of the best pitchers in the league.

Get this under bet as soon as possible, as the total only really has potential to drop. Play: UNDER 8.5 (-115)

Yesterday’s Result: Phillies-Cubs Under 8.5 (“loss”)

Zylbert’s 2019 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*: 27-24-2, +0.3 unit

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

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