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 Saturday.
After a 2-1 contest between the teams last night, look for another ‘under’ Saturday night when Justin Verlander and the Detroit Tigers (57-43, 31-18 away) pay a visit to fellow right-hander Matt Shoemaker and the Los Angeles Angels (61-41, 36-19 home) in the third game of a four-game weekend series from Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA at 9:05 ET.
The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 8½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -110.
Series Tied So Far
The Tigers took the series opener on Thursday 6-4 behind reigning Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer, but the Angels came back to win 2-1 Friday, allowing us to easily cash our play on the ‘under’. Thus the first-place Detroit lead in the American League Central has been trimmed to six games over the second place Kansas City Royals, who beat the Cleveland Indians last night for their fourth straight win.
The Angels improved to 61-41 for the second best record in the entire Major Leagues on the MLB picks, but unfortunately they share the American League West with the team with the best record in the majors in the Oakland Athletics. The good news there is that the A’s lost to the Rangers in Texas last night, leaving the Halos just two games back.
Verlander Showing Signs
It is no secret that Verlander is not nearly what he used to be as he is a disappointing 9-8 with a 4.84 ERA and 1.45 WHIP, and the average velocity on his fastball this year is 93.3 MPH. Yes many pitchers would be happy with that, but Verlander used to hit 100 MPH quite often but he has now not been clocked in triple-digits since 2012. However, at least he is showing some positive signs over his recent starts.
In fact Verlander now has four Quality Starts in his last six outings after allowing three runs in 6.2 innings vs. the Arizona Diamondbacks his last start on Monday. Perhaps more importantly, he has a more Verlander-like ratio of 32 strikeouts vs. eight walks over those outings. Also, Verlander has had a bit of bad luck yielding a .315 BABIP this year, which has contributed to his sub-par common stats.
He is facing an Angel lineup batting 20 points lower vs. right-handed pitchers this year (.256) than vs. left-handers (.276) and Los Angeles is batting a mere .214 vs. righties over the last five games while averaging just 2.60 runs overall in those contests.
Shoemaker Quietly Effective
Shoemaker has made 10 starts since entering the Los Angeles rotation on May 13th and he is 7-3, albeit with a high 4.54 ERA. However, that ERA is skewed by two bad outings as the fact of the matter is that Shoemaker has allowed three earned runs or less in eight of those 10 starts, and he also has an excellent ratio of 72 strikeouts vs. 15 walks in 69.1 innings.
That has led to a 3.82 FIP and a very good 3.18 xFIP, which are a better representation of how well Shoemaker has pitched than his ERA, which is also skewed by allowing an abnormal .332 BABIP. Thus he may be quite undervalued right now, and this is his first ever start vs. the Tigers, which should make him tougher to hit.
Two Improved Bullpens
Furthermore there should not be many tack-on runs here given the recent improvement of each bullpen. The Angels’ bullpen has posted a spiffy 2.19 ERA and 0.97 WHIP over the last 10 games, and while the Detroit bullpen has been the Achilles Heel of the franchise for a few years now, they may had rectified that weakness by acquiring closer Joakim Soria, who leads all Major League relievers with a magnificent 1.07 FIP, from the Texas Rangers on Thursday.
Thus, look for the pitchers to control this contest from start to finish in an ‘under’ from Anaheim on Saturday.
MLB Pick: Tigers, Angels ‘under’ 8½ (-110)