Each day during the MLB Playoffs, LT Profits seek out a total that does not add up and offers the most value that day. Here is their Playoff Total Value Play of the Day for Wednesday.
After a final score of 2-1 last night, look for more or less a carbon copy with another pitching duel on Wednesday when right-hander Miguel Gonzalez and the Baltimore Orioles (99-69, 47-36 away) try to avoid the sweep as they pay a visit to southpaw Jason Vargas and the Kansas City Royals (96-73, 45-39 home) in Game 4 of the ALCS from Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, MO at 4:07 ET in a game televised nationally on TBS. The Royals lead the series 3-0.
The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 7½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -125.
On Verge of Sweep
The Royals were the winning MLB pick by that 2-1 score Tuesday and have a chance to complete a four-game sweep here today. Not only that but after winning the wild card game and sweeping three games from the top-seeded Angels in the ALDS prior to this series, Kansas City would set a Major League record for the most consecutive wins to begin one post-season if they make it eight straight today, as they now share the record with the 2007 Rockies at seven.
The Orioles wasted a nice pitching performance from Wei-Yin Chen last night and now find themselves on the brink of elimination after winning the American League East this season with 96 wins and then sweeping the favored Detroit Tigers three games in their ALDS. However, if they do not get their 100th win of the year today, they can make their plans for the winter.
Nice Success vs. Orioles
And Vargas is one pitcher that the Orioles probably do not want to see when facing elimination. Vargas was solid during the regular season and he was certainly better than his 11-10 record, finishing with a 3.71 ERA, 1.27 WHIP and 128 strikeouts vs. only 41 walks. Most importantly, Vargas came up huge in Game 1 of the ALDS, limiting the Angels to two runs on only three hits in six inning of a contest the Royals went on to win 3-2 in extra innings.
But an underlying story here has been Vargas’s career success vs. the Orioles as he has made eight lifetime starts against them and allowed three earned runs or less every single time, posting a 1.94 ERA, 1.04 WHIP and holding Oriole batters to a .224 batting average over 55.2 innings! To make matters worse, the southpaw is facing a Baltimore lineup averaging only 3.38 runs vs. left-handed pitchers the last 10 games compared to 4.44 runs vs. right-handers.
Strong Finish to Season
Gonzalez was off to a poor start for Baltimore this year, but his very strong finish to the season is the reason he gets this Game 4 start over another possible option such as Kevin Gausman. Gonzalez finished 10-9 during the regular season with his strong finish lowering his ERA to 3.23 overall.
You see, Gonzalez allowed three runs or less in each of his last eight starts, a period that included six starts of allowing two runs or less and three scoreless outings! That made him somewhat of an ‘under’ machine also with the ‘under’ going 7-1 in those last eight starts, and if we go back a bit further the ‘under’ is a perfect 7-0 the last seven times Gonzalez has started on the road!
Top Two Post-Season Bullpens
Finally, do not forget that these have been the top two bullpens in the American League during these playoffs with the Royals’ bullpen posting a 2.01 ERA over 31.1 innings and the Orioles’ pen posting a 2.88 ERA over 25 frames, and that should keep the late tack-on runs that oftentimes blow up relatively low posted totals like this one to a minimum.
With all of this in mind let us again go ‘under’ the total in Game 4 of the ALCS in Kansas City on Wednesday.
MLB Pick: Orioles, Royals ‘under’ 7½ (-125)