MLB Over/Under Bet of the Day
Chicago Cubs at Atlanta Braves
First pitch: 7:20 p.m. ET
Probable pitchers: Marcus Stroman (0-2, 8.78 ERA) vs. Max Fried (1-2, 3.50 ERA)
Among the biggest disappointments in the early going has to be Marcus Stroman, but given his track record, how can anyone possibly expect this to continue?
If there’s something to be encouraged about, it’s that Stroman has registered a 5.24 FIP and an eye-opening 3.29 xFIP, indicating far, far better pitching than what the overall numbers might say. He’s also notably striking out more than a batter per inning, something he’s never accomplished in his nine-year MLB career.
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Sure, three starts isn’t a big sample size. It’s still telling, however, and can serve as a guiding point in predicting Stroman to get back to his usual consistency sooner than later. While this is a matchup opposite the defending world champions, perhaps it is a favorable spot for the Stro Show to get back into its normal flow.
Stroman has made six starts against the Braves, crafting a pretty 2.10 ERA. That should stand out because this is actually the lowest mark he’s churned out opposite any club he’s seen more than five times.
The former first-round draft pick was very steady in these meetings, too, yielding two or fewer earned runs in all six meetings (note that one was an injury-shortened outing). Stroman’s been so good against the Braves that he even has almost as many homers against them with his own bat (one) than he’s ceded to Atlanta (two).
Perhaps Stroman will also have some room for error as far as this under goes considering the counterpart he’s opposing.
Max Fried endured a rocky season debut but righted the ship quickly based on his last two outings. The most recent one was a statement-making victory at the (rare) expense of the Dodgers, who he was holding down with a perfect game even through five innings. Despite losing that bid, he still put the finishing touches on seven shutout innings to go with eight K’s.
That’s a significant benchmark considering Fried only reached that number four times all of last season in 28 starts. Doing that opposite an explosive lineup like LA tells me he’s just settling in.
And when Fried is settled in — as I’ve been saying for years now — he’s one of the best left-handers in all of baseball. The Cubs have certainly experienced that, albeit three times, but even so, you still have to love that Fried collectively etched a 1.59 ERA and 0.88 WHIP in those bouts.
Fried’s 17-1 K/BB ratio is all you need to know about the southpaw getting into his All-Star caliber rhythm. Stroman turning 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 graded as if it were to win 1 unit