Each day the LT Profits Sports Group seeks out an MLB total that does not add up and offers the most value that day. Here is their Total Value Play of the Day for Thursday.
Given the low posted total, there could be a surprising ‘over’ Thursday night between two hot pitchers when Alex Cobb and the Tampa Bay Rays (70-76, 37-34 away) pay a visit to fellow right-hander Michael Pineda and the New York Yankees (74-69, 37-35 home) in the final game of a three-game series from Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, NY at 7:05 ET in a game televised nationally on MLB Network.
The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 7 for this contest with the current odds on the ‘over’ set at -102.
Nice Comeback Win
The Yankees were already down 4-0 when starting pitcher Chris Capuano was pulled after getting just one out in the first inning last night, but they rallied off of Jake Odorizzi and went in to win 8-5 in a high scoring affair to even up this series after the Rays took the opener 4-3 on Tuesday. Thus the Yankees are still breathing in their playoff quest trailing the Detroit Tigers by 4½ games for the second wild card, although two other clubs split those two teams.
Tampa Bay no longer has such playoff aspirations after being picked by many experts to win the American League East before the season, as an amazing rally that saw the Rays go from 18 games under .500 earlier on to actually reaching the .500 mark apparently took too much out of them, as they have again fallen back out of contention in fourth place. To their credit, the Rays have remained good MLB picks on the road at 37-34 compared to 33-42 at home.
Cobb in Stellar Form…
We certainly cannot knock the form of either starting pitcher tonight, although a lack of stamina could end up proving fatal to ‘under’ backers at this fairly low total. Cobb missed about six weeks of this season with an oblique injury, but he has been magnificent while allowing two earned runs or less in his last 11 starts! Most recently he tossed seven scoreless innings at the hard-hitting Baltimore Orioles last Friday while allowing six hits.
That leaves Cobb at 9-7, but with a nice 2.83 ERA and 1.16 WHIP for the season. He does not yet qualify for the ERA title as he is 22 innings short, but his current mark would place him in the top 10 in the American League. He also has a good ratio of 134 strikeouts vs. 40 walks in 140 innings.
If you are looking for a minor knock on Cobb, it is that he has gone beyond seven innings just once in his 23 starts this season, and that one time was just negligibly so at 7.1 innings. Normally that would not be much of a concern, but with this total set relatively low, we would prefer the Tampa Bay bullpen not get too much involved.
…and Pineda Has Sparkled Too
Pineda’s season has been very similar to Cobb except he missed much more time with a back injury that has limited him to nine starts all year. And Pineda has allowed two runs or less in all nine of those starts! He even went seven innings while holding the Kansas City Royals to just an unearned run on Friday with four strikeouts and not a single walk.
Thus Pineda is 3-4 but with a 1.80 ERA and 0.84 WHIP, albeit in just 50 innings this season, with a great ratio of 34 strikeouts vs. four walks. Please note that he has averaged less than six innings per start however, and Friday marked the first time this season that Pineda was able to go seven innings. There is no telling how his arm will respond to that season-high workload, so it seems a given that the Yankee bullpen will be called on again.
But Bullpens Can Blow up Total
In that sense, Pineda may be the worst starter imaginable to start for New York the day after an overworked bullpen was forced to work an ungodly 8.2 innings last night, with the Yankees using five relievers in all. And the Tampa Bay bullpen has not exactly been lights-out as of late either with a collective 3.82 ERA over the last 10 games covering 32 innings.
Add this all up and expect this contest to sneak ‘over’ the low total late in the Bronx on Thursday.
MLB Pick: Rays, Yankees ‘over’ 7 (-102)