Best MLB player prop bet for today, 9/24: Fading Triston McKenzie against the Orioles

Cleveland Guardians starting pitcher Triston McKenzie (24) exits the field after ending the second inning against the Tampa Bay Rays during game two of the Wild Card series for the 2022 MLB Playoffs at Progressive Field.
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Javan Shouey


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A lifelong sports fan from Northwestern Pennsylvania. Die-hard supporter of the Steelers, Pirates and Cavaliers. Insane passion for writing about sports and helping others improve. Incredibly thankful for the platform Pickswise is giving me. For Javan Shouey media enquiries, please email
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Yesterday’s MLB action saw 2 games postponed due to inclement weather, giving us a massive 17-game Sunday slate to tap into as the week closes. There are plenty of important matchups that will change playoff seeding and have lasting effects on the remainder of this year. Other teams like the Cleveland Guardians, who are out of playoff contention, are looking to build some momentum heading into next season, and today’s player prop article focuses on their starting pitcher Triston McKenzie. Let’s dive in, but make sure you also read our MLB picks for today’s huge slate!

Triston McKenzie (CLE) under 5.5 strikeouts (+104)

Odds available at FanDuel Sportsbook at time of initial post to Twitter. Playable to -120 odds.

Let me start by saying I am a massive fan of Triston McKenzie. The 6’5″ 26-year-old right-hander is a key part of the Guardians’ future plans alongside other young studs in Gavin Williams, Tanner Bibee and Logan Allen. McKenzie is someone I bet on regularly last season in a variety of markets, and he produced with a 2.96 ERA across 30 starts. The talented arm has been hurt this season, however, and he has made only 2 starts at the MLB level. It was an elbow injury that kept him out, and with Cleveland out of contention, it is admittedly a bit surprising to see McKenzie take a major league mound again this year. The organization is clearly being cautious with their pitcher, however, as he has thrown just 44 and 62 pitches in his 2 rehab starts. The 44 pitches came against AA Altoona, as McKenzie recorded 4 strikeouts across 3 innings of work. In AAA he saw 62 pitches across 3.2 innings, recording only 2 strikeouts with 2 home runs and 3 earned runs allowed against Omaha. Now, against the team with the best record in the American League, McKenzie is tasked with a difficult matchup upon his return.

The Orioles in the last 30 days rank 7th in wOBA with a 115 wRC+ against right-handed pitching. Yesterday’s matchup against Cal Quantrill was infuriating to watch when having the Orioles team total over, as they failed to bring their baserunners home despite getting numerous guys on in seemingly every inning. Nonetheless, they only had 4 strikeouts against Quantrill, making him the 17th right-handed starter to stay under 5.5 K’s against them in their last 25 matchups against that handedness of pitcher. Overall, in the last 30 days against righties, they rank middle of the pack in strikeout rate, but with McKenzie’s potential rust this is a matchup I like.

Even last season when fully healthy, McKenzie averaged under a strikeout per inning pitched with 190 Ks across 191.1 IP. He was a 3-pitch pitcher with his 4-seam fastball carrying the bulk of his pitch usage. His slider and curveball are plus whiff pitches, and there is rumor of an added cutter to his arsenal, but this 5.5 line still seems a bit generous to the situation at hand. Last year he averaged 14.77 pitches per strikeout recorded, an average of 88.64 pitcher per 6 K’s. With his expected workload to be 75 pitches or fewer even if he is pitching well, there is not a lot of room for error for his over bettors. In the last 30 days regardless of handedness faced, the Orioles have the 2nd highest zone contact rate in MLB while recording the 11th lowest swinging strike rate. Despite McKenzie being a talented player, I side with the under on his strikeout total today.

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