More less: 8
First launch: 7:20 p.m. ET
Probable Pitchers: Marcus Stroman (0-2, 8.78 ERA) vs. Max Fried (1-2, 3.50 ERA)
Marcus Stroman is one of the biggest early disappointments, but given his track record, how can that be expected to continue?
If there’s anything to be encouraged, it’s that Stroman recorded a telling 5.24 FIP and 3.29 xFIP, indicating a much better pitch than the overall numbers might say. He also notably struck out more than one batter per inning, something he never accomplished in his nine-year MLB career.
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Of course, three starts is not a large sample size. However, it’s still telling and may serve as a benchmark for predicting that Stroman will return to his usual consistency sooner rather than later. Although this is a matchup against the reigning world champions, it might be a favorable place for the Stro Show to get back to normal.
Stroman made six starts against the Braves, running a pretty 2.10 ERA. That should stand out as it’s actually the lowest mark he’s had against any club he’s seen more than five times.
The former first-round draft pick has also been very steady in those meetings, producing two or fewer earned runs in all six meetings (note that one was an injury-shortened outing). Stroman has been so good against the Braves that he even has almost as many homers against them with his own bat (one) as he gave up to Atlanta (two).
Perhaps Stroman will also have a margin of error as far as it goes given the counterpart he opposes.
Max Fried had a rocky start to the season, but quickly righted the ship based on his last two outings. The most recent was a decisive win at the (rare) expense of the Dodgers, which he maintained with a perfect game even in five innings. Despite losing that offer, he still put the finishing touches on seven shutout innings to go with eight Ks.
That’s an important benchmark considering Fried only reached that number four times all last season in 28 starts. To do this in the face of an explosive lineup like LA tells me it just moved in.
And when Fried is set up — as I’ve been saying for years now — he’s one of the best left-handers in all of baseball. The Cubs have certainly been through this, albeit three times, but even so, you still have to love that Fried collectively burned a 1.59 ERA and 0.88 WHIP in those fights.
Fried’s 17-1 K/BB ratio is all you need to know about the southpaw entering his All-Star caliber rhythm. Stroman flipping things around at least slightly will help.
2022 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*: “11-5-3”, +5.45 units
Yesterday’s result: Dodgers-Diamondbacks Under 8.5 (WIN)
*Each bet is ranked as if it were to win 1 unit