MLB Over/Under Bet of the Day: May 25, Athletics vs Mariners

MLB: Tampa Bay Rays at Seattle Mariners
May 5, 2022; Seattle, Washington, USA; Seattle Mariners starter Robbie Ray (38) delivers a pitch against the Tampa Bay Rays at T-Mobile Park. Mandatory Credit: Stephen Brashear-USA TODAY Sports

MLB Over/Under Bet of the Day

Oakland Athletics at Seattle Mariners

Over/Under: 7

First pitch: 4:10 p.m. ET

Probable pitchers: Paul Blackburn (4-0, 1.91 ERA) vs. Robbie Ray (4-4, 4.77 ERA)

Paul Blackburn delivers a pitch in 2022 MLB action
Apr 27, 2022; San Francisco, California, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Paul Blackburn (58) pitches the ball against the San Francisco Giants during the first inning at Oracle Park. Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Oh sure, that earned run average currently flashed by Robbie Ray is highly unusual. But based on how his last few starts turned out, the Cy Young version of Seattle’s prized winter cargo is looming.

Ray has recorded at least eight strikeouts in each of his previous three assignments, something he had only accomplished a total of once in his first six outings of the season. Consider that Ray had notched at least that many K’s in more than half his turns last year when he nabbed the American League’s top pitching hardware.

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So, this is a clear sign to me that the veteran southpaw is settling in in his new digs and that makes him worth backing during his oncoming reascension. On this date at least, he’ll have a pretty juicy matchup in effort of fulfilling that outlook.

The A’s have been lacking in the offense department, plating the fourth-fewest runs (153) in all of baseball. Additionally, they’re typically worse against lefties, ranking in the bottom third among all 30 clubs in team batting average (.226) with a southpaw on the hill. Knowing that, how can they possibly strike for a crooked number here opposite a resurgent Ray?

Trust the 30-year-old to compose something more in tune with what we’ve become accustomed to seeing. If he’s on the verge of peaking again, what better foe than one Ray has been stellar against

Though it was only two meetings — both of which came last year — he still completely shut down an incandescently stronger version of the Athletics lineup en route to recording 19 strikeouts compared to just three walks in those 12.2 innings. Now, he’ll be facing a downgraded one.

Interestingly, Ray has not been the standout performer of these two starters. That distinction goes to Paul Blackburn.

Despite entering the 2022 campaign with a career 5.74 ERA and 1.49 WHIP across the past five seasons, Blackburn has turned a lot of heads this year in looking like — dare I say it — a legitimate All-Star.

Who knows if he can hang on for such consideration — but in the meantime, very impressive results have been there and it could be related to alterations Blackburn made in his skillset. For one, he’s inflated his velocity and also added significant run to a refined curveball he deploys more often. In turn, hitters are making contact significantly less both inside and outside the zone. Throwing a lot more first-pitch strikes than ever, Blackburn is largely doing whatever he aims to do out there.

Having not allowed more than three runs in any start yet, the A’s right-hander is the counterpart we’d want to have paired with a reigning Cy Young winner. All of that figures to produce mild offense, at best.

Pick:

2022 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*: “22-19-5,” +0.23 unit

Yesterday’s Result: Blue Jays-Cardinals Under 7.5 (“loss”)

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

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