First pitch: 4:10 p.m. ET
Probable pitchers: Tyler Glasnow (0-0, -.-- ERA) vs. Sandy Alcantara (0-0, -.-- ERA)
Tampa Bay Rays vs. Miami Marlins Predictions
Very intriguing call on the part of the linesmakers, who have added an extra hook to this premium pitching matchup despite more commonly deploying totals of 7 or lower for notably inferior starters going at it in pitcher-friendly South Beach.
Either way, it’s something to be capitalized on — not just based on the reputation of both starters but for their current momentum coming out of spring training.
Alcantara enjoyed a fabulous spring, one that saw the right-hander yield a grand total of three earned runs across six outings. Furthermore, Alcantara also punched out 27 batters in 20.1 innings, so his stuff is clearly in tune for the opener.
Even better is the spot he’ll be in to help ensure he starts his season off right. As I’ve written about several times before, Alcantara seemingly prefers pitching in the daytime, as his ERA (2.83) and WHIP (1.15) are significantly better during the afternoon for his career compared to when going at night (4.14 ERA, 1.41 WHIP).
The 25-year-old won’t be phased by any nerves either when handling this Opening Day assignment. Not only did Alcantara look terrific in his first career such nod last year in beating the Phillies, he also excelled when he got a chance to pitch in the postseason. Alcantara is clearly game enough to succeed in these big moments.
Glasnow has already taken on plenty of huge tasks, such as his nice postseason work the last couple of years, and like his counterpart, he, too, is coming off a really strong spring. Yes, yes, it is only ultimately meaningless March baseball but I definitely think there’s some meaning to Glasnow racking up a whopping 27 strikeouts in just 14.2 innings of work. That’s an absurdly ridiculous 16.57 K/9!
While it’s obviously not a large sample size, it still illustrates that Glasnow — one of the best strikeout artists in the game — looks to be in top form for the campaign. And if that’s the case, he has a good chance to churn out one of his overpowering efforts opposite a Marlins lineup he stifled pretty well last season.
Tampa Bay also sports a very reliable bullpen capable of eating up a handful of innings effectively, should Glasnow not be permitted to go too deep in this contest.
The two lineups involved aren’t that intimidating to scare me away from being confident in each starter. And remember, with no universal DH, we’re back to pitchers taking their swings at the plate.
Pick: UNDER 7.5 @ -125
Opening Day MLB Leans
Mets-Nationals Under 6.5
Giants-Mariners Under 8