MLB Over/Under Bet of the Day Cincinnati Reds at Pittsburgh Pirates
First pitch: 6:35 p.m. ET
Probable pitchers: Tyler Mahle (1-4, 6.46 ERA) vs. Mitch Keller (0-4, 6.11 ERA)
See those paltry earned run averages next to each starting pitcher’s name? Yeah, just go ahead and scrape those while prognosticating an inevitable progression.
For instance, Tyler Mahle carries a very respectable 3.55 FIP along with a 3.66 xERA (Expected ERA), according to FanGraphs. His counterpart this evening, Mitch Keller, holds a not-horrible 4.45 FIP and very intriguing 3.14 xERA, meanwhile.
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These numbers don’t absolutely ensure success looming ahead, of course, but they are telling in that both of these arms are performing considerably better than what the overall statistics might suggest.
Making this particular encounter further tempting is that both starters will be in positions to start converting on those analytic marks into more all-around quality numbers befitting of their skillset.
A huge part of handicapping Mahle — one of the more underrated pitchers in the National League since first arriving five years ago — is recognizing that the right-hander is typically more consistent on the road than at hitter-friendly Great American Ball Park. Judge for yourself: Mahle’s ERA in away starts (3.92) is nearly 25 percent lower than it is at home (5.11) for his career, and he’s yielded less than half (!) the amount of homers on the road (26) than he has in Cincinnati (53).
This is definitely a large enough sample size to strongly consider in any Mahle start, and in addition to that, he’ll be working from PNC Park, one of the kindest venues to pitchers in all of baseball. It’s been kind to Mahle already, as in seven meetings with the Buccos in their stadium, he’s 3-1 with a 2.89 ERA and got tagged for only three taters in those 37.1 innings.
Keller, on the other hand, doesn’t possess a solid track record against tonight’s opponent. However, this is a different lineup than what Keller’s normally seen.
With no Jonathan India (hamstring), Joey Votto (COVID) and Nick Senzel (COVID) all sidelined, the Reds are significantly less impactful at the plate. True, they did get to the 26-year-old in his most recent assignment last weekend but I know Keller is far closer than not to turning it around.
Like last year, he’s also been very unlucky, illustrated by the .330 batting average on balls put in play opposing him. That can’t continue, and neither can his underwhelming results given all the adjustments Keller made during the offseason, including inflating his average fastball velocity by more than a full 2 mph.
Mahle returning to his steadiest form that was often on display the past two seasons is what figures to do the heavy lifting in this total. A serviceable outing from Keller keeps us in position generating a low tally.
2022 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*: “19-12-4,” +5.37 units
Yesterday’s Result: Astros-Twins Under 8.5 (WIN)
*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit