Texas (Hamels) at St. Louis (Wacha) -108 O/U 8
Cole Hamels has had one fatal flaw this season that has doomed his chances of cashing many Under bets. Hamels has been flying Over the total with regularity – six of his last seven starts have cashed Over tickets. A pitcher with a career home run to fly ball ratio of 11.4% has seen that percentage nearly double to 22.7% this year.
Hamels has allowed 15 dingers in 83 innings of work this year. To put that number in perspective, he had allowed only 36 home runs in 417 innings of work over the previous three seasons. Of 99 pitchers with enough innings to qualify, Hamels home run rate ranks dead last in the majors here in 2016.
It’s surely worth noting that Hamels walks per nine innings is also at a career high this season – clearly, the home runs are making him hesitant to throw strikes; bad news against the patient, potent Cardinals lineup that has pounded out five runs or more in seven of their last ten contests.
But Michael Wacha is not a trustworthy hurler tonight either. Wacha has been an Over machine all year, cashing seven straight Overs and 10 Overs in his 13 previous starts. Wacha has been more unlucky than ‘un-good’ this year – his batting average on balls in play (BABIP) is 55 points higher than last year and his strand rate is way down, sitting at 60.2%.
Wacha is coming off a 105-pitch effort against the Pirates. Following his last two 100+ pitch outings, in his next start, Wacha allowed a combined ten runs in ten innings of work. Facing a potent and hot Rangers lineup that just pounded out 27 runs in a four game set at Oakland, we can expect some crooked numbers on the scoreboard tonight! Take the Over.