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Tuesday’s MLB Over/Under Bet: Rays season rests on Snell

Tampa Bay Rays vs. Los Angeles Dodgers Predictions

Over/Under: 8.5

First pitch: 8:08 p.m. ET


Venue: Globe Life Field (Texas)

Probable pitchers: Blake Snell (4-2, 3.24 ERA) vs. Tony Gonsolin (2-2, 2.31 ERA)

When these two starters previously met in Game 2, the result was a narrow over that also saw a large batch of other pitchers involved. In this potential World Series-deciding Game 6, that won’t be the case.

Thus, I’m going the other way in regards to the total, pinpointing on how both teams will have their pitching plans set up.

With Blake Snell, as I continue to maintain, he’s just a constant. While the under didn’t come through in his first Fall Classic start, that was in no fault of the former American League Cy Young’s, as Snell was simply dominant. He even had a no-hitter into the fifth alongside his nine Ks.

However, Snell’s night would end in that same inning. After getting the first two hitters out, Snell seemingly let up in letting up a two-out walk to No. 8 hitter (dead-bat) Kike Hernandez followed by a two-run blast courtesy of No. 9 hitter (dead-bat) Chris Taylor. After that, the next two guys reached base (though ultimately didn’t score) before Snell was taken out.

Prior to that unexpected collapse, Snell was just rolling and looked to be in prime form. That’s how he’s looked for most of the postseason and with LA’s considerably lower splits at the plate against left-handed pitching, I feel good about betting on him to duplicate that performance — well, the 4.2 no-hit-innings portion of it.

Yes, Snell hasn’t yet gone six innings in any start this year but I’m confident he indeed wants to reach that plateau — something he used to do with ease — and that hunger, along with the Rays season being on the line, will ensure quality work.

Facing elimination, Tampa Bay will play with an “all hands on deck” approach, meaning only their best relievers will be implemented once Snell’s job is complete.

It’s the other side of this equation that will be tougher to decipher. After all, when Tony Gonsolin made his lone World Series start last Wednesday, he didn’t exactly leave a memorable impression, clocking in only to provide 1.1 innings and yield a run.

That was by design, though, as that was a planned bullpen game for the Dodgers, with Gonsolin serving as the opener. Here, manager Dave Roberts has already said that he’s aiming for five or six innings tonight from the rookie right-hander.

October has not been kind to Gonsolin, entering this assignment with a 9.39 ERA in his three postseason outings. Only one of those (Game 2 of the National League Championship Series) resonated as a real start and Gonsolin wasn’t even bad, notching seven strikeouts in 4.1 innings while allowing only six baserunners to a hard-hitting Atlanta Braves batting order. He was also tagged for five runs, though.

Despite his shortcomings in the playoffs, I think Gonsolin can deliver something useful for an under this high. Remember, this is someone that crafted notable success in 2020, pitching to the tune of a 2.31 ERA and 0.84 WHIP; this after he was also good in his first taste of the Majors last season (4-2, 2.93 ERA, 1.03 WHIP).

The biggest thorn plaguing Gonsolin right now is the long ball. He’s been victimized for three home runs already across his 7.2 innings this postseason — or an unrealistic homer rate of 3.52 HR/9. There’s no way that will continue after Gonsolin had allowed a mere six homers total in his 86.2 innings of MLB experience prior. That’s a home-run rate of 0.62 HR/9.

So long as that is the case, and with the improved command he uncorked his last time out, Gonsolin can hang in there alright. Even if he can’t go that five or six innings Roberts pegged for him, that’s perfectly alright as well, as Los Angeles will have their full bullpen at its disposal as well, after getting a day off yesterday.

With Walker Buehler slated for Game 7 (if necessary), the Dodgers know the majority of that contest would be covered by its starter, therefore creating a mentality they can roll out any of its pen.

It’s one of the best bullpens in all of baseball. The relief of Gonsolin can keep it a tight game opposite Snell’s usual gem.

PICK: UNDER 8.5 (-120)

2020 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*:

Regular season: “19-42-4,” -28.91 units

Postseason: 12-9, +1.70 units

Last Result: Dodgers-Rays Under 8 (WIN)

*Each bet graded as if it were to win one unit (postseason 0.5 unit except first one)


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