Each day LT Profits Sports seeks an overlay side that has a better chance of cashing than its spread, offering long term value. Here is their Side Value Play for Monday.
The current leaders of the National League West could see their division lead entirely evaporated by the end of Monday night when Rubby De La Rosa and the Arizona Diamondbacks (27-29, 12-13 away) pay a visit to fellow right-hander Mike Bolsinger and those Los Angeles Dodgers (32-25, 22-10 home) for the first game of a three-game series from Dodgers Stadium in Los Angeles, CA at 10:10 ET in a game available on FOX Sports - Arizona.
The posted money line at Pinnacle Sports has Arizona as a decided road underdog for this contest at current odds of +155.
Dodgers Stopped Scoring Runs
The Dodgers have seen their lead over the second place defending World Champion San Francisco Giants shrink to one-half game in the West Division after losing three out of four games to the St. Louis Cardinals over the weekend, and one main reason has been a lack of offense that saw them score a grand total of six runs over those four games, needing a shutout to win their only game of the series 2-0 on Saturday.
The Diamondbacks only had one direction to go this season after being the worst MLB picks in the Major League last year at 64-98, prompting the firing of former manager Kirk Gibson and the hiring of Chip Hale. While Gibson was never noted as a great in-game manager, to be fair the Diamondbacks were beset by a ton of injuries last year and they have improved to 27-29 with a healthier roster this season, leaving them in fourth place as they come in 4½ games behind LA.
Planet Earth Paging Bolsinger
Bolsinger may have added inspiration here as this is his first start vs. Arizona after the Diamondbacks discarded him after going 1-6 with a 5.50 ERA for them last year, and it is not as if the Diamondbacks are rich in pitching. He has responded by going 3-1 with a fantastic 1.98 ERA and 1.07 WHIP in his first season with the Dodgers, although he comes off of his worst start of the year allowing four earned runs on six hits plus three walks in Colorado Wednesday.
Granted, part of the reason for that bad five-inning outing vs. the Rockies could have been pitching in the altitude of Coors Field. But by the same token, that outing may have also marked the beginning for some sharp regression for Bolsinger after allowing two runs or less in each of his first five starts in Dodger Blue including allowing one run or less in four of them.
You see, Arizona probably had good reason for casting Bolsinger off as he tops out in the mid-80s on his fastball and does not really have another exceptional pitch to compensate for it. And his great mainstream stats so far have probably been Fool’s Gold considering he has been lucky in allowing a low .253 BABIP, which gets magnified even further by the fact that he pitches to contact so often, and he has also benefitted from a fortunate 86.0 percent stand rate.
Those “luck” factors do not figure to continue for very much longer and his descent to earth may have begun with his last start. Now he is facing an Arizona offense that is starting to heat up vs. right-handed pitchers, averaging a potent 5.67 runs while batting .273 against them over the last 10 games.
Rubby Better than Recent Form
Now, De La Rosa was off to a good start for the Diamondbacks but he has been hit hard while failing to record a Quality Start his last three outings, posting an ugly 8.44 ERA over those outings to leave him at 4-2 but with a 5.09 ERA for the season. However, De La Rosa is the polar opposite of Bolsinger in that he is probably much better than that lofty ERA and he actually still has a commendable 1.22 WHIP overall despite those last three shellings.
And the primary indicator that De La Rosa is better than the ERA and should expect positive regression is his command ratio which sees him with 67 strikeouts vs. just 18 walks in 69.0 innings. The problem has been the long ball as Rubby has allowed 12 home runs already, but he benefits from pitching at Dodger Stadium at night here, when the air is heavier and the stadium plays more like a pitchers’ park.
De La Rosa actually has a very good 3.32 xFIP as pitching half of his games in hitter-friendly Chase Field in Phoenix does him no favors, and he now gets to face the aforementioned struggling Dodgers’ offense that is batting .221 and averaging a measly 1.91 runs vs. right-handed pitchers over the last five games.
Snakes are Barking Dogs
Finally, the improved Diamondbacks have actually been very good bets as road underdogs lately, going a lucrative 8-3 in their last 11 games when cast in this role!
Given the anticipated regression for Bolsinger and De La Rose being better than his recent numbers, look for that nice run of road upsets by Arizona to continue while visiting the Los Angeles Dodgers on Monday.
MLB Pick: Diamondbacks +155