MLB Picks - Monday, May 31
Detroit Tigers at Milwaukee Brewers
First pitch: 2:10 p.m. ET
Probable pitchers: Tyler Alexander (0-0, 4.35 ERA) vs. Corbin Burnes (2-4, 2.33 ERA)
As illustrated yesterday by Keegan Akin in an under victory for the column, when a solid pitcher gets the opportunity to start again, good things can proceed to follow.
This instance will be a little bit different, as Alexander isn’t projected to eat up five or six innings like in the case of Akin. Detroit is planning to deploy a bullpen game, with Alexander ideally occupying three or four frames, and though that might be worrisome given how Tiger relievers are last in the American League with a 5.30 ERA, allow me to soothe your concerns.
Detroit’s bullpen was just horrible the first month of the season but in May, they’ve turned it around, producing a much-improved 3.55 ERA. That mark is actually fourth best in the league during this span.
So, these mostly unknown arms can indeed be trusted — at least at this point in time — and either way, we know for the most part what we’re dealing with. Alexander’s primarily been used out of the bullpen this season and last but when he gets the chance to start, take a gander.
The 26-year-old southpaw made eight starts his rookie campaign two years ago and he didn’t allow more than four earned runs in any of them. Overall, he was worth noting after stringing together a desirable 47-7 K/BB ratio in his 53.2 innings of work.
Since then, Alexander’s throwing harder than ever now with an average fastball velocity of 91.1, albeit mostly while coming on as a reliever. Even so, I really like the lefty for the first few innings (or more, if he’s permitted) in this spot. The Brewers strike out a hefty amount against left-handers, making this advantageous for a guy who can quickly accumulate the K’s.
Alexander, remember, set a new Major League record for most consecutive strikeouts when he put down the first nine hitters he faced via the K in a doubleheader game last August. It also tied the mark for any MLB pitcher, period.
Following Alexander, I would also expect to see fellow left-hander Daniel Norris, who is perfectly fine as a piggyback option and is experienced in this role.
All of this is being done to best counter the efforts of Burnes, Milwaukee’s co-ace.
Considering Burnes’ performance opposite the Tigers last year — arguably the best of his career — when he stitched seven shutout innings of one-run ball to go with a career-high 11 punch-outs, and the remarkable work he’s continued to clock in with this season, he’s a safe bet.
An angry Burnes figures to pour it on Detroit after he topped his entire walks total for the campaign with three his last time out. Alexander can lead a game effort for the bullpen not get obliterated.
Pick: UNDER 7.5 @ -120
Angels-Giants Under 8
Athletics-Mariners Under 8.5
Nationals-Braves Over 8.5
Mets-Diamondbacks Under 7.5
2021 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*: “31-25-2,” +2.58 units
Yesterday’s Result: Orioles-White Sox Under 8.5 (WIN)
*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit