Each day during the MLB Playoffs, LT Profits seeks a side that has a better chance of cashing than its odds would indicate. Here is their MLB Playoff Value Play for Tuesday.
The desperate road team has a chance to at least get an early lead Tuesday night when southpaw Wei-Yin Chen and the Baltimore Orioles (99-68, 47-35 away) pay a visit to right-hander Jeremy Guthrie and the Kansas City Royals (95-73, 44-39 home) in Game 3 of the ALCS from Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, MO at 8:07 ET in a game televised nationally on TBS.
The posted 5-inning money line at Pinnacle Sports has Baltimore as a slight favorite at current odds of -116.
Need Win to Get Back in Series
The Royals have seemingly taken a stranglehold of this best-of-seven series by winning the first two games on the road in Baltimore, both in the late innings. First they won Game 1 by an 8-6 score in 10 innings thanks to a go-ahead home run from Alex Gordon, and they then broke a tie with two runs in the ninth inning of Game 2 for the 6-4 victory. Mike Moustakas has homered in each of the first two games and in three straight games overall despite batting ninth!
The Orioles earned home field advantage vs. the wild card Royals in this series by winning the American League East and then beating the American League Central Champion Detroit Tigers in the ALDS despite being the MLB pick underdogs for that series. However, could it be that they have run into that proverbial Team of Destiny in this series? For that to definitely not be the case, Baltimore simply has to find a way to win this game to avoid an 0-3 series hole.
16-Game Winner in Game 3
And we do expect the Orioles to at least get off to a fine start tonight, as this looks like the first time in this series so far that Baltimore appears to have the starting pitching advantage. We have felt all along that the Orioles’ Achilles Heel has been not having a bona fide true ace on their staff, but they could do a lot worse than having a pitcher in Chen with a 16-6 record available for this Game 3.
Granted Chen did not pitch well in Game 2 of the ALDS vs. the Tigers where he was roughed up for five earned runs in just 3.2 innings, but that was vs. a team that generally gives him trouble, which has not been the case vs. the Royals. Chen has made six starts vs. Kansas City since 2012 and allowed three runs or less in five of them including two starts this season over which he allowed a grand total of three runs in 12.1 innings.
In fact Chen closed out the regular season strongly regardless of the competition as he finished up by allowing two earned runs or less in each of his last five starts and posting a 2.05 ERA during the month of September! Add in the fact that he is well rested going on 10 days rest and the southpaw should bounce back well from that sub-par ALDS effort.
Strong Finish for Guthrie
Guthrie did close out the season very well also as he allowed just one earned run in his last three starts covering 20.1 innings, translating to a 0.44 ERA and 0.79 WHIP over that span. However his full body of work was not nearly as solid as that of Chen, as Guthrie finished the season at 13-11 with just a 4.13 ERA and 1.30 WHIP, not to mention a 4.32 FIP that was the 13th worst in the Major Leagues among all qualified starters and a 4.33 xFIP that was eighth worst.
His last start vs. the Orioles was nothing special either as he allowed four earned runs on eight hits plus one walk in eight innings of a loss here at Kauffman Stadium back in May. Now we get that Guthrie will more than like be on a short leash here with the Kansas City bullpen having the lowest pen ERA during this post-season of the five American League participants at 2.30, but the desperate Orioles may be able to scratch out a lead before Guthrie is pulled.
Bullpens to Settle Game
And we do expect that Royal pen to do its usual thing, thus allowing the Kansas City offense time to rally again should the Royals indeed be trailing when Guthrie leaves the game. It is for that reason that we are partial to the Baltimore five-inning play here, as we are a tad leery about trying to buck fate the way the Royals keep winning these playoff games in the late innings with some unlikely heroes.
Thus, our recommended play is Baltimore over the first five innings only for Game 3 of the ALCS in Kansas City on Tuesday.
MLB Pick: Orioles -116 (5 innings)