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 Monday.
Just as in the first two games of this series, runs should be at a premium Monday when right-hander Doug Fister and the Washington Nationals (96-68, 45-36 away) pay a visit to southpaw Madison Bumgarner and the San Francisco Giants (91-74, 45-36 home) in Game 3 of their NLDS from AT&T Park in San Francisco, CA at 5:07 ET in a game televised nationally on MLB Network. The Giants have a chance to end this best three-out-of-five series leading 2-0.
The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 6 for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at a positive +112.
Pitching Has Ruled This Series
While it has been a high scoring MLB Playoffs elsewhere this year, this is one series where the pitchers have dominated with the Giants winning the first two games in Washington by scores of 3-2 and 2-1 in 18 innings! We have already posted our side selection for this contest, but you can easily tell by reading between the lines that we expect the pitchers to rule the day again in another ‘under’ here in Game 3.
San Francisco had the tougher route getting here as the Giants first had to beat the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League Wild Card Playoff Game to advance to the NLDS, and on the road no less. But they did just that behind their ace and today’s starter Bumgarner 8-0, and then made it three straight road wins this post season in the first two games of this series.
The Nationals are the team facing the wild card winner because they were the best MLB picks in the National League this year at 96-66, beating out the Los Angeles Dodgers by two games.
One of Best Southpaws in National League
Bumgarner finished at 18-10 during the regular season, and those 10 losses may not do him justice as he had a 2.98 ERA that ranked third among National League southpaws behind only Cy Young Award favorite Clayton Kershaw and Cole Hamels, as well as a 1.09 WHIP and a great ratio of 219 strikeouts vs. 43 walks in 217.1 innings. He then came up huge in the wild card win tossing a Complete Game four-hit shutout with 10 strikeouts!
This game is a regular season pitching matchup from June 10th that could very well have been a precursor of what to expect today, as Fister and the Nationals won that pitching duel 2-1. Bumgarner was certainly valiant in defeat however as he allowed just two run on eight hits in seven innings with five strikeouts vs. one walk. That marked the fourth straight career start vs. the Nationals that Bumgarner has allowed two runs or less, with all the starts coming since 2012.
Fourth in the NL in ERA
Bumgarner may have been third among National League southpaws in ERA, but Fister was fourth among all NL starters with his 2.41 ERA, to go along with a 16-6 record, 1.08 WHIP, just 24 walks in 164 innings and a good 48.9 percent groundball rate. And he is the Nationals’ third starter after Jordan Zimmermann and Stephen Strasburg, which rates Fister among the best third starters in all of baseball.
And going back to that regular season meeting, the winning pitcher Fister tossed seven scoreless innings, making him a perfect two for two in stellar outings when pitching in San Francisco over his career, as he also allowed just one run and four hits in six innings in his only other start in this ballpark as a member of the Detroit Tigers in 2012. Fister also enters this contest in peak form having allowed two earned runs or less in each of his last four regular season starts.
That includes two scoreless outings including a Complete Game three-hit shutout with nine strikeouts and not a single walk in his final start of the year vs. the Miami Marlins.
Good Bullpens Too
Finally, taking a look at the bullpens, the Nationals now have a 2.95 bullpen ERA for the whole year if you combine the regular season and the playoffs, while doing the same for the Giants yields a 2.96 pen ERA. The two pens combined to allow 1 run in 20 innings in the Game 2 marathon, and the off day yesterday should alleviate the fatigue factor a bit, not to mention the two starters today capable of working deeply into games.
Therefore, look for another pitching duel similar to the 2-1 score when these pitchers met during the regular season in Game 3 of the NLDS from San Francisco on Monday.
MLB Pick: Nationals, Giants ‘under’ 6 (+112)