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 Friday.
There may not be too much scoring in an interleague matchup Friday night when right-hander Jason Hammel and the Oakland Athletics (73-48, 33-27 away) pay a visit to southpaw Alex Wood and the Atlanta Braves (61-60, 34-28 home) in the first game of a three-game weekend series from Turner Field in Atlanta, GA at 7:35 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 ‘under’ set at -118.
A’s Still the Best So Far
The Athletics just lost three our of four games to the Royals in Kansas City, although Oakland still remains the best MLB pick in the Major Leagues this season at 73-48. Unfortunately for Oakland it cannot afford to relax because the team with the second best record in all of baseball also resides in the American League West and thus the A’s have just a two-game lead over those Los Angeles Angels.
It has been a real struggle for the Braves lately as they had dropped to six games behind the Washington Nationals in the National League East, no thanks to going 3-12 in their last 15 games. Atlanta comes off of a series where it lost three out of four games to the Los Angeles Dodgers, and to make things worse the Braves are now expected to be without Justin Upton, who leads the club with 21 home runs and 72 RBI, after straining his hamstring yesterday.
Hammel Back in Form
Hammel came over to the Athletics from the Chicago Cubs in the same trade that also brought Jeff Samardzija, but Hammel had some difficulty re-adjusting to life back in the American League as he was roughed up in his first four Oakland starts while posting a 9.53 ERA and allowing 26 hits in 17 innings including an alarming five home runs.
However, just as suddenly Hammel has rediscovered his National League form over his last two starts, allowing a grand total of one run in 12 innings, although he had the misfortune of getting just a no-decision vs. the Minnesota Twins last time out despite allowing one run on four hits.
And Hammel now gets to face a National League opponent again, an opponents that he already shut down once this season while he was with the Cubs as he limited the Braves to two runs on seven hits in seven innings with five strikeouts vs. one walk on May 9th here in Atlanta, marking the third Quality Start in his last four career appearances vs. the Bravos.
Wood Also in Good Form
Wood may be 8-9 on the year, but the truth of the matter is the young southpaw is actually having a very nice season with a fine 3.08 ERA and 119 strikeouts in 117 innings vs. only 33 walks. Wood comes off of a gem vs. the Washington Nationals on Sunday night where he allowed one run on five hits with 12 strikeouts in 7.1 innings.
Perhaps most importantly Wood has been a model of consistency as he has made 16 starts this year and allowed three runs or less in 13 of them. Furthermore he allowed a reasonable four runs in two other starts meaning that he has really only been roughed up once all year, when he allowed seven runs in a start in Miami way back in April.
Wood has been at his best here in Atlanta this season where he has a 2.77 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and 67 strikeouts in 55.1 innings vs. only 13 walks. This will also be his first appearance ever vs. Oakland, which should make him doubly tough.
Recent Offensive Struggles
You may recall that the Athletics traded away some offense in Yoenis Cespedes in order to acquire Jon Lester from the Red Sox, and although a drop-off in the offense is not obvious based on the A’s averaging 4.10 runs over the last 10 games, keep in mind that there was one 11-run outlier in Kansas City on Tuesday, and that marked the only game in the last five where they have exceeded three runs, in fact scoring a grand total of six runs over the other four games!
Meanwhile the Braves are batting just .232 and averaging 2.96 runs per game vs. right-handed pitchers the last 10 games, so look for both pitchers to succeed in what should be a low scoring game in Atlanta on Friday.
MLB Pick: Athletics, Braves ‘under’ 7 (-118)