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Matt Zylbert is back with his pick for Detroit Tigers vs. New York Yankees

MLB Picks

Detroit Tigers at New York Yankees

Over/Under: 8.5

First pitch: 1:05 p.m. ET

TV: MLB Network

Probable pitchers: Spencer Turnbull (1-1, 3.27 ERA) vs. Jameson Taillon (0-2, 6.23 ERA)

Detroit Tigers vs. New York Yankees

OK, if there’s going to be a point at which Taillon starts to turn it around like he’s more than capable of, this has to be it, facing the Majors’ lowest-scoring team.

Not only do the Tigers score a putrid 2.78 runs per game, they also carry the worst team OPS (.602) in all of baseball. If Taillon is salivating at the prospects of this assignment like I believe, he’ll capitalize.

Remember, this is someone that was a legitimate upper-rotation pitcher (with potential to still be a long-lasting bonafide ace) prior to falling victim to Tommy John surgery that wiped him out for two years.

In 2018, Taillon — as my top sleeper entering that campaign, too — went 14-10 with a 3.20 ERA in 32 starts (and I went 10-3 on unders with him that season). So, this is a starting pitcher I know very well.

In any case, Taillon hasn’t even pitched nearly as bad as what his 6.23 ERA might suggest. He’s crafting a career-best strikeout rate (10.9 K/9) while dealing with bad luck, as evident in the .348 batting average on balls put in play against him.

Taillon has registered a very respectable 4.17 FIP, and that being more than two full runs lower than his earned run average is also a strong indicator of satisfactory work. This clearly points to a turnaround.

Meanwhile, the other starter in this affair, Turnbull, has been providing his usual steadiness, even despite beginning the season on the injured list. Though it’s only been a pair starts for the 28-year-old, Turnbull looks to already be in prime form.

Yes, of course, the vaunted Yankees offense can bring about unsteadiness from anyone but I’m willing to wager on Turnbull at least hanging in there while he’s in rhythm. He’s coming off a quality start, which followed a great season debut when he allowed only one run.

I like what Turnbull’s doing, too, apparently changing his game a bit to be less reliant on his fastball and implementing more of his breaking pitches, according to FanGraphs’ percentage usage. In turn, that’s getting Turnbull considerably more softer contact.

The Tiger right-hander has been on the cusp of breaking out for a couple of years now. I trust him to keep working along that vision, and an effort like that paired with a good outing from Taillon should pace this.

Pick: UNDER 8.5 (-120)

Saturday's MLB Leans

Indians-White Sox Under 8.5

Cardinals-Pirates Under 7.5

Red Sox-Rangers Over 8.5

Giants-Padres Under 7

2021 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*: 14-13-2, -0.55 unit

Yesterday’s Result: Royals-Twins Under 8 (“loss”)

*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit


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