first pitch: 16:07 ET
Probable pitchers: Shane Bieber (1-1, 2.82 ERA) vs. Cole Irvin (2-1, 3.32 ERA)
What the hell is going on here?
I really mean it? A total of 7 in this very pitcher friendly stadium for a Shane Bieber game? And he doesn’t face a bum.
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By comparison, our under in Oakland last Saturday had a decisively lesser match-up in Martin Perez vs. Frankie Montas with the exact same over/under. But despite the presence of a recent former Cy Young Award winner opposite a man who threw more than respectfully to get his campaign started.
That would be Cole Irvin, who is one of the reasons the Athletics are off to a surprising start, exceeding their low expectations. Beginning his second year with the A’s (and second season as a full-time starter in the big league), Irvin has pitched his team in the sixth inning or deeper in all five of his assignments.
That’s remarkable for someone who doesn’t rack up a lot of strikeouts, because he did that a year ago. In 2022, he kept battering opponents so far on a meager .226 batting average, which places him in the league’s top 20 among qualifying starting pitchers.
Well, Irvin’s going to have a coveted chance to keep it going. As Cleveland is a day game after an overnight affair, a number of regulars rest, including the ever-dangerous Franmil Reyes. As it is, the Guardians have been one of the worst teams against left-handed pitching to date, averaging .188 and .570 OPS combined as a team. Those numbers are the latest in the American League.
So we all have that against Bieber’s crisp consistency? Okay, sign me up. Unsurprisingly, the 26-year-old continues to dazzle, with a ratio of 2.82 ERA, 0.90 WHIP, .188 BAA and 22-5 K/BB over four starts. He seems established after his first two good starts of the year on his last few outings.
Now he gets the weak Athletics, a team that tries to put together a competent line-up every day. They hit .211 in the season and it would be hard to imagine any kind of significant raking against one of the AL’s best. The stakes on the total here are quite academic.
2022 MLB over/under betting record*: “13-6-3”, +6.43 units
Result from yesterday: Angels-White Sox under 7 (no action)
†Each bet rated as if it would win 1 unit