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MLB K Props, October 8th: Framber Valdez, Chris Sale, Shane Baz O/U Ks

Framber Valdez

Framber Valdez

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

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Chris Sale O/U 6.5 Strikeouts vs. Rays

I once tweeted that Chris Sale struck out seven or more against Tampa Bay in 18 straight games.

He struck out three that game. Then, the next meeting he had six. His prop line opens at 6.5 once again versus a Rays team that has his number in 2021.

According to NBC’s player prop model, Sale is 5-4 to the Under 6.5 strikeouts on the season (56%), with half of his Overs coming against the Orioles. That is worth noting.

Chris Sale

Chris Sale

Tampa Bay’s roster owns a .274 batting average and .739 OPS in 119 plate appearances. If you look at the strikeout numbers, it would be a no-brainer to bet on Sale as he owns a majority of the Rays’ batters.

However, that was in the past. During 2021’s two back-to-back meetings, Sale owns a 2.79 ERA, .372 OBA and 16 hits in 9.2 innings. Sale struck out nine in 9.2 innings.

In September, Sale posted a 3.24 ERA, .283 OBA and 24 strikeouts in 25.0 innings.

Over October’s only appearance, Sale owns a 7.71 ERA, .364 OBA and seven strikeouts in 2.1 innings versus the Nationals. Since coming back from injury this season, Sale has not been himself, so I will play the Under versus the one team that got under his skin when they met.

Tampa Bay has power behind the plate and 14 out of the last 15 LHP went Under 6.5 strikeouts against the Rays to end the regular-season.

I grabbed this at -115 odds and would play it out to -140.

Pick: Chris Sale Under 6.5 Strikeouts (1u)

Shane Baz O/U 5.5 Strikeouts vs. Red Sox

Shane Baz has three career starts under his belt and will get the nod in Game 2 versus the Red Sox. Tough draw.

In MLB history, Baz is tied with Matt Moore (2011) as the player with the fewest career starts before making their first postseason start. Ryan Merritt (2016) is next on that list with four starts. Insane but cool random group if you ask me.

How did those guys do? Moore went 7.0 innings on 98 pitches and struck out six. Merritt went 4.1 innings on 49 pitches for three strikeouts.

In Baz’s two starts and one relief appearance, the 22-year-old RHP has 18 Ks in 13.1 innings versus the Blue Jays (5 Ks), Marlins (9 Ks) and Yankees (4 Ks). I know which two teams are the most comparable here.

In his first two starts, Baz went 5.0 and 5.2 innings and made a 2.1 inning relief appearance against the Yankees.

He tossed 65 (TOR) and 82 (MIA) pitches in those starts, so his leash will not be as long as we would think unless everything goes right.

It’s October and his first start, so I doubt it will go right. He could be an opener, but that is something Tampa Bay would not say for strategic purposes.

He has yet to face any Boston batters and depending on how you view that, each at-bat could go either way.

Boston has a ton of postseason experience in the lineup and on their roster. The Red Sox will be ready for Baz, who likes his four-seam fastball the most out of all pitches. That should not be a recipe for success in his first postseason start.

To end the regular season, the Red Sox put up two or more earned runs on the starting RHP seven out of 10 times, eight out of 11 if you count Gerrit Cole in the Wild Card.

If Baz gets hit with two or more early, you can count on an early exit. I grabbed this at -110 odds and would play it out -125 for 1.5u. Anything after that is a 1 unit wager.

Pick: Shane Baz Under 5.5 Strikeouts (1.5u)

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Framber Valdez O/U 5.5 Strikeouts vs. White Sox

Framber Valdez will be making his fifth postseason start of his career and for the Astros as Houston hosts the Chicago White Sox for Game 2.

Valdez faced Chicago twice this season and went Under 5.5 strikeouts both times with four and five strikeouts in 6.1 and 7.0 innings pitched.

With Game 2 pressure on, It’s hard to imagine him racking up more Ks in fewer innings pitched.

According to NBC’s player prop model, he has gone 6.0-plus in 10 of 22 starts (45.4%) and 5.2 or fewer in 6 of 22 (27.2%). This season, Valdez is 13-9 to the Over 5.5 strikeouts (59%), so fading is probably unpopular, but it’s October.

hIT RATE vALDEZ

hIT RATE vALDEZ

In his postseason career, Valdez’s first two starts resulted in five and four K performances in 5.0 and 7.0 innings versus Minnesota and Oakland. Against the Rays, he posted eight and nine strikeouts in 6.0 innings each, no surprise as they are still strikeout happy.

We saw Lance McCullers go 6.2 innings yesterday on 104 pitches, the most of any starting pitcher in the postseason thus far. He only managed four strikeouts.

Let’s roll with the Under as you can see per baseballsavant.com, there is a decent but small sample size with Chicago’s hitters. Chicago is stacking the lineup with all RHB and switch hitters today, attempting to bring back the lefty killer lineup -- which I cannot wait to see.

BASEBALL SAVANT

BASEBALL SAVANT

Play the Under as they will be locked into to avoid going down 2-0. I grabbed this at -110 odds, play it out to -150.

Ground balls have been Valdez’s way of getting out of jams, so the White Sox will have to find holes or knock Valdez out with multiple homers.

21 out of the last 26 starting pitchers have gone Under 5.5 strikeouts versus the White Sox. Let’s see if the White Sox’s RHB lineup makes the difference versus Valdez.

Pick: Framber Valdez Under 5.5 Strikeouts (1u)

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