Each day the LT Profits Sports Group seeks out an MLB total that does not add up and offers the most value that day. Here is their Total Value Play of the Day for Friday.
Look for an ‘over’ in an interleague matchup Friday night that means a lot to one of the participants when right-hander David Buchanan and the Philadelphia Phillies (70-83, 34-41 away) pay a visit to southpaw Jon Lester and the Oakland Athletics (83-69, 45-30 home) in the first game of a three-game series from O.co Coliseum in Oakland, CA at 9:35 ET.
The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 7 for this contest with the current odds on the ‘over’ set at +100.
Taking a Nosedive
Remember when the Athletics had the best record in the Major Leagues for much of this season? Well, the Los Angeles Angels have now clinched the American League West and the A’s find themselves fighting for their playoff lives after getting swept three games here at home by the team with the worst record in the majors, the Texas Rangers! Oakland now precariously holds the second wild card spot by one game over the Seattle Mariners.
The Phillies are a last place team themselves as they have been the worst MLB picks in the National League East at 70-83. However, they still have a chance to escape the cellar at three games behind the fourth place New York Mets, and they must be encouraged after what Texas just did to Oakland.
Not as Good as His ERA
With all of that being said, our focus is on the total here and we feel that the pitching of Buchanan does not justify this low posted number. Buchanan is 6-7 with a 3.75 ERA on the season after limiting the Miami Marlins (sans Giancarlo Stanton) to one run on five hits in 6.1 innings on Sunday, but the reality is that he has not really been as good as his ERA this year.
You see, Buchanan has a rather weak ratio of 5.54 strikeouts vs. 2.56 walks per nine innings and he is also allowing more that one home run per game at 1.02 per nine frames, which has led to a bad 4.39 FIP. Furthermore Buchanan has been a bit lucky as he has yielded a rather low .274 BABIP.
And he cannot really count on much relief either from a Philadelphian bullpen that is 12th in the National League with a 3.71 ERA, and that unit has seen that figure rise a bit more to 3.81 over the last 10 games.
Major Bullpen Woes
Speaking of shaky bullpens, the Oakland pen has blown up a few nice performances by the A’s starters as of late, so even the presence of the Oakland ace Lester on the mound may not make them comfortable.
Now granted, Lester has continued his fine season since coming over from the Boston Red Sox in one of the biggest trades of the trading deadline. Lester is 15-10 with a 2.45 ERA over the entire season and 5-3 with a 2.30 ERA as a member of the Athletics. It is noteworthy however that Lester has just one Complete Game this year in his 30 starts at his two stops combined, so chances are very high that Oakland bullpen will be called on again tonight.
That is bad news to ‘under’ backers with a fairly low posted total like this, as the A’s pen has a 4.44 ERA and 1.44 WHIP over the past 10 games with three blown saves in this relatively short span.
The Phillies should be used to going ‘over’ in pitchers’ parks as they just did so in three out of four games at Petco Park in San Diego. Meanwhile, the ‘over’ is 11-2-5 in the Athletics’ last 18 interleague games, and as pitcher-friendly as O.co Coliseum is, games here have still averaged a combined 8.19 runs this season, which would be good enough to go ‘over’ tonight’s total.
And look for this game to do just that, so play the ‘over’ in Oakland on Friday.
MLB Pick: Phillies, Athletics ‘over’ 7 (+100)