MLB Over/Under Bet of the Day
Washington Nationals at Pittsburgh Pirates
First pitch: 6:35 p.m. ET
Probable pitchers: Erick Fedde (0-0, 3.60 ERA) vs. Mitch Keller (0-1, 9.00 ERA)
Is this the year that these two early-round picks from the 2014 draft put it together?
They both certainly look like they’re about to hit their stride. Fedde showed as much right out of the gate in his first start of the campaign by shutting down a good Mets squad for five innings, limiting them to a pair of runs. He also struck out five, perhaps continuing his increased strikeout rate from last season — his first full one in the Majors after years of appearing sporadically — when he pasted a career-best 8.6 K/9 across 29 games (27 starts).
Though he wound up saddled with a 5.47 ERA for the year, Fedde was definitely better than that, as illustrated by his 4.66 FIP and 4.06 xFIP. There were plenty flashes of goodness throughout 2021 that lead me to buy into Fedde in the right spot. A date with the Pirates in one of baseball’s friendliest parks toward pitchers is one such spot to enlist the righty for.
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Then we have Keller, one of my top sleepers entering this season and someone that I think genuinely has sky-high potential. All indications from his offseason work are that he’ll tap into it.
True, Keller’s year didn’t start great on the surface after allowing four runs in four innings to the Cardinals last weekend. Looking deeper into his outing, though, every sign you’d want to see that would trigger a real breakout was actually there.
The 26-year-old averaged 96.2 mph on his fastball. Contrast that to his average velocity (93.8 mph) a year ago and that’s a pretty stark change. Additionally, he averaged 92.5 mph on his changeup and 81.6 mph with the curveball, both being considerably harder in this start as well.
Just as important as anything, Keller felt “really good with where [he] was at,” and, really, the only difficulties he was having came in the first inning, which he conceded to “first-game nerves.” That can happen to anyone after putting in all the work that he did throughout the winter and having high expectations in the first assignment. I believe he’s settled in now.
So long as that is the case, Keller can be relaxed and do his thing without any variable disrupting him. He has the right opponent to build momentum, too, facing the club that has struck out more than any other lineup in baseball. The Nationals are punching out more than nine times per game in the early going.
Not only that, the Nats carry the third-lowest team OPS (.594) so far. The ingredients are in place for Keller to have a strong showing, and paired with steady pitching from Fedde, the offense is this game can be tame.
2022 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*: “2-4-2,” -2.35 units
Yesterday’s Result: Reds-Dodgers Under 8.5 (loss)
*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit