Each day LT Profits Sports seeks an MLB overlay that has a better chance of cashing than its odds, offering long term value. Here is their Underdog Value Play for Wednesday.
The team with the worst record in the American League could spring a second upset in as many nights Wednesday over a team desperately fighting for a wild card berth when Chris Archer and the Tampa Bay Rays (58-61, 31-29 away) pay a visit to fellow right-hander Miles Mikolas and the Texas Rangers (47-72, 22-34 home) in the third game of a four-game series from Globe Life Park in Arlington, TX at 8:05 ET in a game available on Sun Sports.
The posted money line at Pinnacle Sports has Texas as a decided home underdog for this contest at current odds of +127.
Extra Inning Blues
The Rays were off to a horrific start this season that at one point had them 18 games under .500, but they have battled back and even though they are still three games below .500, they are six games out of a wild card spot after beginning this 10-game road trip 4-4. The disconcerting aspect of that has been that three of the four losses have been in extra innings including the 3-2 loss to the Rangers in 14 innings here last night after Tampa took the series opener 7-0.
The Rangers have no such wild card aspiration as they have been the worst MLB picks in the American League this year at 47-72, although the good news there is they no longer have the worst record in the majors after going 4-3 in the last seven games, as the Colorado Rockies of the National League now own that dubious distinction.
Mikolas on the Improve
The Texas rookie Mikolas was off to a dreadful start this season that still has him 1-4 with a 6.57 ERA overall, but you would not know that based on the improvement he has shown as of late. After limiting the Houston Astros to one run and four hits on Friday in an unfortunate no-decision in a game the Rangers eventually lost 4-3, Mikolas has now allowed two runs or less in three of his last four starts, limiting opponents to a .220 batting average during this stretch.
Mikolas was probably rushed to the Rangers much sooner than the Rangers would have liked due to the slew of injuries Texas has had this year, so this simply may have been a case of him being a bit unprepared and overwhelmed in his early starts. His more recent form though is an indication that he can stick in the Texas rotation.
This will be his first appearance ever vs. the Rays, which is usually to the pitcher’s advantage, and he is facing a Tampa Bay lineup batting just .234 averaging only 3.53 runs per nine innings vs. right-handed pitchers on the road this entire season, as well as a lineup hitting a mere .226 vs. righties in the last 10 games overall.
Archer Decent Since Price Trade
Remember that the Rays traded ace and former Cy Young Award winner David Price at the trading deadline despite having gotten themselves back in the playoff race, which meant a further reliance on the rest of the rotation going forward. Well, Archer has been decent for the most part lately, posting a 3.50 ERA and 1.22 WHIP in his last three starts with 18 strikeouts in 18 innings vs. five walks.
Archer has been pretty consistent this season at 7-6 with a 3.33 ERA overall, which does not make up for the production of the departed Price but is adequate just the same. One issue here though is that he does not work beyond six innings very often, in fact going exactly six innings in each of his aforementioned last three starts, which should mean an almost certain call to a Tampa Bay bullpen that worked 7.2 innings in the marathon last night.
Granted the Texas bullpen was worked last night also, but due to the four extra-inning affairs in this road trip and a couple of short outings by starting pitchers, the Rays’ pen has now put in 40 innings of work in then last 10 games, can could be taxing.
Tampa Bullpen Could Make Difference
That Tampa bullpen is ranked a middle-of-the-road 16th in the Major Leagues with a 3.51 ERA overall this season, and that mark has actually dropped to 2.31 the last 10 games. Not all the news is rosy though as the unit actually has a weak 1.33 WHIP in these 10 games as part of the reason for the low ERA has been allowing inherited baserunners to score.
With the Tampa Bay bullpen probably fatigued and Mikolas looking much better for the Rangers lately, we give a good chance to another Texas home upset in Arlington on Wednesday.
MLB Pick: Rangers +127