Each day LT Profits Sports seeks an overlay side that has a better chance of cashing than its spread, offering long term value. Here is their Side Value Play for Tuesday.
An American League Cy Young candidate comes off of a couple of tough outings and he may now be overvalued in interleague play Tuesday night when southpaw Jorge De La Rosa and the Colorado Rockies (33-43, 16-21 away) pay a visit to right-hander Sonny Gray and the Oakland Athletics (35-44, 15-23 home) in the second game of a three-game series from O.co Coliseum in Oakland, CA at 10:05 ET in a game televised regionally on MLB Network.
The posted money line at Pinnacle Sports has Colorado as a very large underdog for this contest at current odds of +183.
Battle of Last Place Teams
This is surprisingly a battle of last place teams, although probably not as surprising in the case of the Rockies, who were the second worst MLB picks in the National League last year at 66-96, ahead of only 64-98 Arizona. However, the Rockies have actually shown some improvement on the road this year at 16-21, just five shy of their total road wins for all or last year (21-60).
The surprise is Oakland, which has made the playoffs each of the last three years but seems unlikely to keep that streak alive this year, although it is not totally impossible with 10 games separating the last place Athletics from the first place Houston Astros in the American League West. The A’s took the series opener emphatically 7-1 here at O.co last night.
Is Gray Regressing?
While it has not been a good year for the Athletics, Gray is a Cy Young Award candidate sitting at 9-3 while pitching for a losing team with a sparkling 2.09 ERA and 0.99 WHIP. And as great as those numbers are, they have actually taken a hit with Gray coming off of back-to-back subpar outings vs. the Los Angeles Angels and Texas Rangers respectively.
Gray had his worst start of the season vs. the Angels two starts back when he was lit up for six runs (five earned) in six innings, allowing five hits plus three walks while striking out only two. He then managed to escape with allowing only three earned runs vs. Texas last Thursday, but he did that while allowing nine hits in six innings.
So is this a start of regression for Gray, who has always been very good since coming up to the Major Leagues a few years ago but not Cy Young good? Well, maybe, maybe not! After all, he does have an excellent 2.68 FIP that suggests his ERA is not extremely fluky, but at the same time he has a 3.31 xFIP that, while still very good, is considerably higher than the ERA. This price on Gray today though seems to make fading him for one more start worthwhile.
Still the Colorado Ace
Conversely, De La Rosa is only 4-3 with a 5.15 ERA and 1.53 WHIP, and we are quite confident in saying that the Colorado ace is a much better pitcher than that. Probably the most successful pitcher in the history of the Rockies among pitchers with some longevity, De La Rosa got off to a horrifically bad start this season but has settled down nicely since then.
In fact he has now allowed three runs or less in six of his last seven starts, allowing two runs or less in four of those outings. Unfortunately he had to leave his last start vs. the Diamondbacks Thursday after allowing only one run and four hits in five innings due to a laceration on his finger, but that turned out to be a minor injury and he should be issue-free for this start this evening.
Now he gets to face an Oakland lineup that is batting only .239 vs. left-handed pitchers overall this season, and with this being an interleague contest and the A’s being a fairly young team, he is facing a lineup that is mostly unfamiliar with him, which should make him even tougher to hit.
Trouble with Southpaws
Finally, because of the Athletics’ difficulties vs. southpaws this year they are only 6-23 in their last 29 games vs. left-handed starters. Meanwhile, despite being a last place team, the Rockies are 6-1 in De La Rosa’s last seven starts, which points to the quality of his starts since his terrible beginning to the year.
All things considered, there seems to be enough reason here to back Colorado at a humongous underdog price visiting Oakland on Tuesday.
MLB Pick: Rockies +183