Cleveland Indians at Texas Rangers
First pitch: 11:05 a.m. PT
TV: MLB Network
Probable pitchers: Shane Bieber (6-2, 3.92 ERA) vs. Mike Minor (6-4, 2.63 ERA)
Staying in Arlington for this series finale after hitting last night’s over. And it’s going to involve the best pitching matchup in the four-game set.
There’s a reason this contest sports an over/under that is two runs (or 1.5, depending on when you got it) lower than last night’s affair, which isn’t common in back-to-back meetings with the same club’s.
On one side, you have a Comeback Player of the Year Award nominee — and maybe an All-Star — in Minor, who displayed this breakout potential a season ago in his first rodeo with the Rangers. In his 10 starts after the All-Star break last year, the 31-year-old southpaw recorded a 2.97 ERA and 0.94 WHIP while holding opponents to a stifling .194 batting average. He also notably logged 8.3 K/9 as well.
That success has continued into 2019, as Minor has clearly been the ace of the Texas pitching staff, being 6-4 with a shiny 2.63 ERA entering his 16th assignment. In addition, he’s registered 9.3 K/9, which is significant considering Minor has previously never averaged a strikeout per inning in a season.
Another tendency from 2018 related to Minor that’s been absorbed by the present day is his comfort of pitching at (what is typically) hitter-friendly Globe Life Park. Most dread pitching in Arlington but Minor posted a home ERA (3.45) nearly a full run-and-a-half lower than he did on the road (5.14). This year, he owns a 2.18 ERA there compared to a 3.04 ERA away from Texas.
Bieber certainly qualifies as another breakout story in progress based on his nice showing thus far in his sophomore campaign. For those of us leaning on the former fourth-round draft pick in any betting capacity, the good news is that he’s arguably been at his best as of late.
In his last six starts, Bieber has endured a couple of hiccups but he’s also exhibited real dominance, even notching three outings with a double-digit number of strikeouts within that stretch — previously, Bieber had never reached that plateau since first being called up.
He’s coming off one such performance, when he pitched into the eighth against the Detroit Tigers and limited them to only two runs, while amassing 12 K’s to only a single walk.
I like the groove Bieber is in and believe he can keep going at a steady rate. The total being as high as it is even gives the youngster some room for error. Matching Bieber up with a very consistent hurler like Minor — who has helped produce an 11-4 record for unders in his starts — can set the tone for a low-scoring result. Play: UNDER 9 (-115)
Yesterday’s Result: Indians-Rangers Over 11 (WIN)
Zylbert’s 2019 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*: 41-36-6, +0.8 unit
*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit
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