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.
One of the better comeback stories in baseball could give the underdogs value Wednesday night when right-hander Phil Hughes and those Minnesota Twins (48-57, 24-28 away) pay a visit to southpaw Danny Duffy and the Kansas City Royals (53-52, 25-27 home) in the second game of a three-game series from Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, MO at 8:10 ET.
The posted money line at Bet365 has Minnesota as a decided road underdog for this contest at current odds of +135.
Twins Squeak by in Opener
The Royals are hanging in the American League Central race as they are in second place and five games behind the division leading Detroit Tigers, but they did themselves no favors by being a losing MLB pick in the first game of this series to the last place Twins 2-1 last night. Thus Kansas City continued its offensive struggles that now have the Royals batting .228 overall in the last 10 games while averaging a scant 2.92 runs per nine innings.
The Twins are in their customary position in the American League Central basement, but at nine games under .500 they are actually running ahead of the pace that saw them finish with identically 66-96 records each of the last two years as they have the best winning percentage of any last place team in baseball (.457) while trailing the Tigers by 10 games.
Hughes Attacking Strike Zone
It is easy to forget that Hughes was an All-Star for the Yankees back in 2010 when he finished 18-8, as he struggled badly in the new Yankee Stadium in the years since then and not many tears were shed when he bolted for the Twin Cities after finishing 4-14 with a 5.19 ERA in his final season as a Yankee last year. However he has re-invented himself nicely in his new surroundings!
Hughes has gone 10-7 while pitching for a last place team, and while his ERA is higher than you would like at 4.10, he is now pounding the strike zone better than he has ever before now that pitching in a more spacious home stadium has taken the fear factor out of the equation. As a result, Hughes has one of the most amazing ratios you will ever see with 113 strikeouts vs. just 12 walks in 131.2 innings.
Best of all Hughes has even taken that newfound aggressiveness on the road with him, where he is 7-2 with a 2.78 ERA and 61 strikeouts vs. five measly walks in 68 innings. He has also now allowed three runs or less in seven of his last eight career starts vs. the Royals with the most recent Quality Start coming this season, and there is no reason why his fine comeback season cannot continue here given the aforementioned current state of the Kansas City offense.
Regression Coming for Duffy?
Duffy is what many people would consider an unlucky 5-10 considering that he has a spiffy 2.47 ERA and 1.08 WHIP in 15 starts covering 98.1 innings, and he had an identically miniscule 0.92 ERA and 0.92 WHIP his last three starts.
However, we are not joining the masses that are hopping on the Duffy bandwagon because his sabremetric numbers are simply not up to snuff. You see, Duffy has a mediocre strikeout rate of 6.96 per nine innings, a high walk rate of 3.11 per nine and he has benefitted greatly from allowing just a .232 BABIP and an 80.0 percent strand rate. He has a much more ordinary 3.80 FIP and a downright bad 4.38 xFIP, so we are not sure how much longer his luck could last.
It also hurts his cause that the Twins’ best batting split this year has been vs. left-handed pitchers on the road, as they are batting a solid .263 and averaging a good 4.58 runs per nine innings in this circumstance.
Minnesota Hot on Road
The Twins have also suddenly become Road Warriors as the win last night marked their sixth win in the last seven games away from Minneapolis. In fact, the venue has not mattered much for Minnesota this season as it is 24-29 at home and 24-28 on the road.
All of this should serve to give Hughes and the Twins very nice road underdog value in Kansas City on Wednesday.
MLB Pick: Twins +135