Kansas City Royals at Miami Marlins
First pitch: 3:10 p.m. PT
Probable pitchers: Danny Duffy (5-6, 4.89 ERA) vs. Caleb Smith (8-9, 4.30 ERA)
In just about every game at Marlins Park, you’ll see an over/under of 8 or less (usually less), a lot of which has to do with the stadium’s pitcher-friendly reputation.
Here, however, we have a much more uncommon 8.5 attached — even despite the series opener playing out as a 3-0 final last night with a considerably inferior pitching matchup — and that’s something that can be capitalized on by bettors.
First off, Miami home games drawing a total this high are even more rare when Smith is starting for the fish. The 28-year-old southpaw has easily been one of the club’s most consistent youngsters this season, and if not for an injury earlier in the campaign, he probably would have been the Marlins’ lone representative on the National League All-Star team.
While Smith is in a rough patch at the moment, having allowed at least five runs in each of his last three outings, don’t expect that continue. Smith is way too talented to keep struggling in this manner, and he has the right opponent to get back in a rhythm.
Aside from scoring the fourth-fewest runs per game (4.27) in the majors, the Royals are dead-last in the American League in team batting average (.239) and OPS (.689) against left-handed pitching.
Additionally, the offense cranks out a long ball only once every 33.3 at-bats with a lefty on the hill, a task that will be only more challenging in Miami. As it is, Smith is typically better when working within his home confines, putting up superior numbers across the board at Marlins Park compared to his adventures on the road.
Thus, perhaps it’s the linesmakers simply being low on Duffy as their reasoning for deciding on the over/under. Duffy isn’t having his best showing in 2019, after all, but the nine-year veteran still has something left.
Duffy returned last Sunday after about a month-long absence due to injury and was solid, clocking in with a quality start and indicating he’s healthy again. So long as that is the case, I have no issues leaning on the left-hander in an opportune assignment.
The Fish actually sport a lower team OPS (.685) than Kansas City when dealing with southpaws. Overall, let’s not forget they’re also the NL’s lowest-scoring team (3.73 runs per game) as well. Play: UNDER 8.5 (-115)
Yesterday’s Result: Diamondbacks-Reds Under 9.5 (loss)
Zylbert’s 2019 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*: 77-70-10, -1.75 units
*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit