MLB Predictions - Tuesday, May 18
Milwaukee Brewers at Kansas City Royals
First pitch: 8:10 p.m. ET
Probable pitchers: Brandon Woodruff (2-1, 1.64 ERA) vs. Kris Bubic (0-0, 1.42 ERA)
No one is talking about Woodruff as an early National League Cy Young frontrunner but that really has to change.
After a breakthrough pandemic campaign in which he pitched to the tune of a 3.05 ERA and 0.99 WHIP while hitters managed an average barely above the Mendoza Line (.204), Woodruff just isn’t letting up.
Through eight starts this season, the fifth-year right-hander is actually looking even better than he did a year ago. His pristine 1.64 ERA and 0.73 WHIP both rank second behind only Jacob deGrom amongst NL starters and in addition to that, he’s holding opponents to a puny .144 batting average, which is third-best in the Majors.
Woodruff’s strikeout rate (11.13 K/9) is up, too, continuing a trend from recent years where he’s kept that mark in double digits.
Clearly, this is a premium hurler we’re dealing with, even if he seemingly doesn’t get the respect of one. And he couldn’t be more locked in, either. Since a murky Opening Day assignment in which he went four innings, Woodruff has fired off seven consecutive quality starts — and in six of those, he allowed no more than one run.
Just look at Woodruff’s last two starts as further evidence that the right-hander couldn’t be any better right now. He punched out at least 10 batters in both outings, marking the first time Woodruff ever accumulated double-digit strikeouts in back-to-back starts. He’s in prime form.
But of course, beyond seeing Woodruff shut down a struggling Royals ballclub, we’re also going to need his counterpart, Bubic, to deliver in his first start of 2021.
If you saw the second-year southpaw in action last year as a rookie, you know this is someone that’s going to stick as a solid mid-rotation arm, at least. Bubic wowed.
Despite what his 1-6 record might say, the 23-year-old largely shined when getting his first taste of the big leagues. Bubic posted a respectable 4.32 ERA and nearly struck out a batter per inning (8.82 K/9).
After curiously beginning the season at the alternate site, Bubic hasn’t disappointed one bit since arriving, even supplying 10.2 shutout innings across his last two outings, a pair of long-relief jobs.
Now Bubic is back where he belongs — in a starting rotation — and I expect the left-hander to take off from here. Though the Brewers can possess a stiff first test, they’re still without former MVP Christian Yelich (back), and this is actually a group Bubic saw as a freshman and thrived with.
In 5.1 innings, Bubic held the Brew Crew to an unearned run on one hit, striking out seven compared to four walks. Anything close to that performance opposite Woodruff will be key in draining out bats.
Pick: UNDER 8 @ -120
Tuesday's MLB Leans
Indians-Angels Under 8
Diamondbacks-Dodgers Under (if Corbin Martin starts)
2021 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*: “21-22-2,” -3.99 units
Yesterday’s Result: Diamondbacks-Dodgers Under 7 (WIN)
*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit