MLB Over/Under Bet of the Day: May 21, Diamondbacks vs Cubs

MLB: Houston Astros at Arizona Diamondbacks
Apr 12, 2022; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Arizona Diamondbacks starting pitcher Madison Bumgarner (40) blows on his hands in the third inning against the Houston Astros at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Rick Scuteri-USA TODAY Sports

MLB Over/Under Bet of the Day

Arizona Diamondbacks at Chicago Cubs

Over/Under: 7.5

First pitch: 2:20 p.m. ET

Probable pitchers: Madison Bumgarner (2-2, 2.29 ERA) vs. Justin Steele (1-4, 4.50 ERA)

May 15, 2022; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Justin Steele (35) pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

Hmm, what to make of lefty Justin Steele?

First off, the 26-year-old is coming off his best outing of the season, when he registered his second career quality start while notching 10 strikeouts in a Major League game for the first time. Of note, that came against his opponent for today’s early affair, the Diamondbacks.

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Given how Arizona’s offense is more lackluster than anything else, I’ll look to scratch out a similar effort here from Steele that could be decisive in the total.

The D-backs sport the league’s lowest team batting average (.209), and opposite lefties, that mark shrinks even lower (.205). Furthermore, there’s a significant difference between the club’s OPS facing southpaws (.625) compared to right-handers (.677). Riding cool, Steele figures to benefit from these splits again.

The second-year hurler has appeared to make an adjustment in strategy, electing to implement his slider a good amount more in his repertoire. In fact, Steele is throwing the pitch nearly twice as much as he did as a rookie. This is something that can help sustain more consistency.

He’ll be squaring off with a fellow left-hander who also happens to be one of the more reliable starting arms in the game.

Madison Bumgarner continues to put forth a renaissance campaign, even after that spat he had with umpire Dan Bellino that led him to getting ejected from a game after just one inning. Fortunately, that doesn’t seem to have ruined his psyche.

Then again, what actually can? Mad Bum continues to string together fine start after fine start and I don’t see that run being interrupted in an afternoon date with Chicago — especially given the track record he’s composed against this foe.

Bumgarner has drawn 15 assignments against the Cubs, going 9-3 with a sparkling 2.25 ERA. Remarkably, that’s the lowest such mark he’s posted in his career versus any opponent he’s faced multiple times. In addition, Bumgarner holds a 0.98 WHIP and 116-21 K/BB ratio in these meetings, spanning 100 total innings.

Yeah, even though the future Hall-of-Famer never played in the National League Central, it’s safe to surmise that Bumgarner is truly a bonafide Cubs killer.

As always, those Wrigley Field winds must be monitored. While there won’t be any strong action from that weather like in yesterday’s ballgame, the fact that they’ll be blowing from left to right and can play a considerable role in helping both left-handed starters deal with righty hitters.

Pick:

2022 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*: “21-16-5,” +2.71 units

Yesterday’s Result: Twins-Royals Under 8.5 (“loss”)

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

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