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 Tuesday.
Even with the switch to the favorite to win the National League Cy Young Award, look for this game to go ‘over’ the low total Tuesday when the great southpaw Clayton Kershaw and his Los Angeles Dodgers (95-70, 49-33 away) pay a visit to right-hander Shelby Miller and the St. Louis Cardinals (92-73, 52-30 home) in Game 4 of their NLDS from Busch Stadium in St. Louis, MO at 5:07 ET in a game televised on Fox Sports 1 with St. Louis leading the series 2-1.
The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 6½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘over’ set at -105.
Chance to Close Out Series
After doing what they had to do by splitting the first two games on the road in Los Angeles, in fact beating Kershaw in Game 1, the Cardinals put themselves in a position where they could end this best-of-five series tonight with a 3-1 win in the crucial Game 3 last night with John Lackey out-dueling Hyun-Jin Ryu. And if the Cards pull it off, Matt Carpenter will almost certainly win the series MVP after homering for the third straight game.
The Dodgers won the National League West and finished as the MLB pick second seeds behind the Washington Nationals during the regular season, when they actually had a better record on the road (49-32) than at home (45-36), which is something they can draw on here as they attempt to force a fifth and deciding game, which would take place Thursday back in Los Angeles.
Regression After Fine Rookie Year
The Cardinals are trying to close things out with Miller, who had a very disappointing sophomore season after being a key contributor to the Cardinals’ World Series drive last year. This will also be Miller’s first ever post-season start after allowing three runs in 4.1 innings of relief over the last two playoff years for St. Louis.
Miller still qualified as a rookie last season, when won 15 games as a starter during the regular season with a 3.06 ERA and 169 strikeouts in 173.1 innings vs. only 57 walks. However, he slipped to 10-9 this season with his ERA rising to 3.74, and the biggest issue was his command taking a 180-degree turn compared to last year as he slumped to just 127 strikeouts vs. 73 walks in 183 innings. Miller also allowed a rather alarming 22 home runs this year.
That all added up to an ugly 4.54 FIP, which was the seventh worst FIP in the Major Leagues among qualified starters. Miller was also lit up in his only appearance vs. the Dodgers this season surrendering six earned runs on seven hits plus three walks in only five innings in Los Angeles on June 29th.
Cy Young Favorite Struggles vs. Cardinals
With their backs against the wall, the Dodgers are turning to the Cy Young favorite Kershaw here pitching on three days rest, although he would have pitched this game even if the Dodgers had won yesterday and they were the team with the chance to end the series tonight, as Manager Don Mattingly announced early Monday that Kershaw would start this game on short rest and that Zack Greinke would start Game 5 if necessary regardless of Monday’s outcome.
And Kershaw is totally deserving of all the post-season accolades that he will receive this year after posting video-game like numbers this season, going 21-3 with a 1.77 ERA, 0.86 WHIP, a .196 batting average allowed and an almost unheard of ratio of 239 strikeouts vs. 31 walks in 198.1 innings!
However, the Cardinals were not impressed when they lit up Kershaw for eight earned runs in 6.2 innings in Los Angeles in Game 1, and Kershaw may have been feeling a case of déjà vu after St. Louis also ripped him for seven earned runs on 10 hits in four innings in the deciding Game 6 of the NLCS last season. In fact Kershaw now has an uncharacteristic 5.84 ERA in his last eight starts vs. the Cardinals since 2012 and we do not think that the short rest helps matters.
Struggling Bullpens Too
Finally, neither bullpen has been putting out many fires lately with the St. Louis bullpen posting a 4.59 ERA and 1.32 WHIP in 31 innings over the last 10 games and the Los Angeles pen being even worse over that same 10-game span, posting an ugly 5.30 ERA and 1.51 WHIP in 32 innings! That is certainly a boon to an ‘over’ with a low posted total like this one.
Add this all up and go ‘over’ in St. Louis in Game 4 of the NLDS on Tuesday.
MLB Pick: Dodgers, Cardinals ‘over’ 6½ (-105)