MLB Over/Under Bet of the Day: May 20, Twins vs Royals

MLB: Minnesota Twins at Kansas City Royals
Apr 20, 2022; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Daniel Lynch (52) pitches against the Minnesota Twins during the first inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

MLB Over/Under Bet of the Day

Minnesota Twins at Kansas City Royals

Over/Under: 8.5

First pitch: 8:10 p.m. ET

Probable pitchers: Devin Smeltzer (0-0, 1.80 ERA) vs. Daniel Lynch (2-2, 3.30 ERA)

May 14, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Devin Smeltzer (31) throws a pitch against the Cleveland Guardians during the third inning at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Have to like a matchup between two pitchers that appear to be on the verge of proving themselves as legit Major League starters. Both have the talent to sustain it.

There’s recent former first-round draft choice Daniel Lynch involved, first off. Since a rocky season debut against the Cardinals, the 25-year-old has settled in quite nicely, allowing three runs or fewer in all five of his starts. Not only that, he’s only been tagged for one home run within this span after yielding three taters in his first outing of the year. That’s progress.

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Lynch is someone that stuck out to me in 2021 as a rookie despite posting a 5.69 ERA and 1.63 WHIP across 15 starts. He endured tough first and final months in the big leagues during his freshman campaign, but everything in-between those book ends looked very promising.

In fact, he went 4-1 with a 2.23 ERA in all of his assignments that weren’t in either May or September. That suggests to me that he was only struggling upon his first taste of the Majors (May) and as the season was winding down (September). Otherwise, this looked like a polished arm already carrying the poise that you’d want to see out of any young starting pitcher.

I’ve seen enough now in the current campaign to tell Lynch is in rhythm right now, making him someone worth backing for the time being. We’ll also seek the lefty to just etch similar work to what he churned out against these same Twins in his second start of the year, when Lynch blanked them for five scoreless innings.

Anything close to that would be just dandy in a total sitting at 8.5, especially when there is hopeful potential for a gem from the counterpart as well, Devin Smeltzer.

Look, this is a left-hander that has mostly been utilized as a swingman since first debuting in Minnesota three years ago. Smeltzer’s time has been limited, too, with this only set to be his 21st career game in the bigs (not to mention his ninth start). Furthermore, he only made one appearance a season ago due to injury.

But here is Smeltzer back with the club once again, and based on how his first start went last weekend opposing the Guardians, I think he’s worth trusting here.

One, let’s look at the opponent. The Royals lineup is currently ravaged by injuries, missing its best player Salvador Perez (thumb) and biggest speed threat Adalberto Mondesi (knee). Additionally, they just lost veteran outfielder Michael A. Taylor to the COVID injured list — and this is a team that isn’t, err, strong with depth.

So Smeltzer figures to have a pretty advantageous opportunity here and one I’m willing to wager on that he won’t relinquish. Remember, considering he’s made numerous stops for the Twins already — each in the bullpen and rotation — you know he wants to finally stick for good this time around. Smeltzer is throwing harder than he ever has and I believe he’s armed with enough to stay.

The familiarity of the opponent can help too. A quarter of Smeltzer’s games (five) and starts (two) at this highest level came against the Royals and he actually fared well in these outings, clocking in with a 2.25 ERA and 0.88 WHIP. True, that was also only 16 innings worth of a sample size but think about it: Smeltzer will now get the thinnest-possible KC batting order. 

Pick:

2022 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*: “21-15-5,” +3.86 units

Yesterday’s Result: Reds-Guardians Under 8 (WIN)

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

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