MLB Over/Under Bet: Two promising young NL southpaws go at it

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Miami Marlins at San Diego Padres

Over/Under: 7

First pitch: 7:10 p.m. PT

Probable pitchers: Caleb Smith (3-2, 3.05 ERA) vs. Joey Lucchesi (3-3, 4.25 ERA)

There’s an interesting matchup comprised of left-handers tonight in San Diego that will kick off this three-game set between the Marlins and Padres. It can even be argued that these are two of the better young southpaws in the National League.

Smith has been so good in his second season with the Fish that he’s shaping up to be the club’s lone representative in the All Star Game come mid-July. While he probably doesn’t have much competition for that honor, that shouldn’t take away from the fact that the 27-year-old has been crafting an excellent campaign.

On the year, Smith is only 3-2 but he’s also churned out a more-than-respectable 3.05 ERA and 0.96 WHIP. He’s been able to do that with overpowering stuff, logging 11.57 K/9, and he’s also limited opposing hitters to a minuscule .191 batting average. Both those marks rank him third in the NL.

While the Padres lineup has potential to put up a crooked number more times than not, this is actually a favorable matchup for Smith. San Diego’s .222 batting average against lefties ranks them tied for last in that category, and in addition, they punch out an unhealthy once every 3.29 at-bats with a southpaw on the hill.

Then we have Lucchesi, who — like his counterpart this evening — also made his presence felt for the first time in the Majors last year. Though he ultimately only finished 8-9 with a 4.08 ERA in his rookie showing, Lucchesi was definitely better than that and it appears he’s been pitching even better in 2019.

Lucchesi enters his 11th assignment at 3-3 with a 4.25 ERA and 1.18 WHIP. That’s not far off from his final stat line of a year ago but he’s holding opponents to a lower batting average (.241), garnering more swings-and-misses on strikes (11.4 percent) and drawing more soft contact (20.3 percent) and less hard contact (34.8 percent) compared to last season.

The matchup and location plays into the hands of Lucchesi, too. As has been documented plenty of times in this column, Miami is decisively the lowest-scoring team in baseball, plating just 3.13 runs per game. When facing a left-hander, they also have the lowest team OPS (.604) — and by a considerable amount.

The likelihood of another solid Lucchesi outing is only further increased when he’s working from Petco Park. The former fourth-round draft pick has registered a significantly lower ERA in his pitcher-friendly home (3.63) than on the road (4.94) since first debuting. This is definitely an under bet you’ll want to get in right away, as it most likely won’t last at that number. Play: UNDER 7 (-125)

Yesterday’s Result: Giants-Marlins Under 8 (WIN)

Zylbert’s 2019 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*: 32-27-4, +2 units

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

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