MLB Over/Under Bet: Can Matz be trusted?

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New York Mets at Minnesota Twins

Over/Under: 10

First pitch: 5:10 p.m. PT

Probable pitchers: Steven Matz (5-6, 4.89 ERA) vs. Michael Pineda (6-4, 4.56 ERA)

Those who have been following the Mets — a team that entered the year with legit postseason aspirations — know it’s been a very rocky season for the organization. That’s especially been true for their talented pitching staff.

Matz, along with his 4.89 ERA, has been one of the culprits there, which is one reason why he was briefly demoted to the bullpen prior to the All-Star break (it was also a move designed to help the club’s struggling battalion of relievers).

This series opener marks the left-hander’s return to the rotation, even if just for two starts while teammate Zack Wheeler (shoulder) recovers on the Injured List. It’s also an opportunity for Matz to prove he’s still a solid Major League starter.

That’s what this total bet pretty much boils down to, and I’m willing to side with Matz in his quest to re-establish himself as someone who is very capable at this level.

Matz’s problem has been consistency, as he’s had some outings where he got hit hard. On the contrary, the former second-round draft pick has had plenty of good showings that apparently are overshadowed by the negative work. In fact, of his 16 starts this season, Matz allowed three runs or fewer in 12 of them — or 75 percent of his 2019 assignments.

Also remember that Matz’s overall numbers are really skewed by that one horrific meeting with the Philadelphia Phillies in which he failed to record even a single out. Take that performance out of the equation and Matz holds a much more respectable 4.28 ERA. He’s been unlucky this year, too, dealing with a .313 batting average on balls put in play against him. More likely than not, that will come down.

Yes, the Twins have arguably been raking southpaws better than anyone in baseball. But their offense hasn’t yet performed up to its high standards set in the first half, scoring 14 runs in the first three games post-break, so maybe Matz is catching them at an opportune time. No matter the opponent, he figures to be sharp in trying to seize his newfound opportunity.

Consistency is something that used to be an issue for the other starter in this affair, Pineda, but that appears to no longer be the case. Not only that, the 30-year-old appears to be just hitting his stride.

Of course, this is something I saw coming, as Pineda was one of my top sleepers entering the campaign. He’s looked real strong as of late, yielding exactly a single run in four of his last five starts.

In Pineda’s last turn, he amassed a season-high nine strikeouts, which followed up an outing in which he punched out eight. Those 17 K’s represent the most strikeouts he’s logged in back-to-back starts in more than two years, a real sign that Pineda is indeed back to old form. Play: UNDER 10 (-110)

Yesterday’s Result: Dodgers-Phillies Under 9.5 (loss)

Zylbert’s 2019 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*: 52-45-8, +1.75 units

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

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