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 Tuesday.
Runs could be hard to come by Tuesday evening when Japanese import Hisashi Iwakuma and the Seattle Mariners (54-51, 28-20 away) pay a visit to fellow right-hander Trevor Bauer and the Cleveland Indians (52-53, 29-19 home) in the first game of a three-game series from Progressive Field at 7:05 ET in a game available on Sports Time Ohio.
The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 7½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -115.
Battle of Playoff Hopefuls
Both of these teams have playoff aspirations this year, although both have been heading in the wrong direction as of late. The Indians were major surprises on the MLB picks last season when they made a late-season run to a wild card spot, but they were off to a disappointing start this year before a nice surge moved them to within two games of first place in the American League Central. However, they are 2-6 the last eight games and now one game under .500.
Cleveland is still only 6½ games behind the first place Detroit Tigers though and four games out of the second wild card position.
The Mariners have been American League West doormats for several years, but they actually held that second wild card spot recently until a bad 2-7 home stand that just concluded. It is unlikely that Seattle will catch the first place Oakland Athletics with the Mariners being 11 games out, but they are still just two games from reclaiming a wild card.
Bauer Starting to Fulfill Potential
The Cleveland starter Bauer was highly regarded coming out of UCLA and he was the third overall pick in the first round of the 2011 MLB Draft. The rookie did not have the best of starts this season while going through some growing pains and this is just 4-5 with a 3.93 ERA. However, he is now showing why he was held in such high esteem with that ERA steadily dropping in recent starts.
Bauer has now posted four straight official Quality Starts but he has actually allowed three runs or less in six straight outings and in eight of his last nine appearances, with the streak interrupted by a start where he allowed a reasonable four runs. He has a nice strikeout rate with 82 of them in 84.2 innings vs. 30 walks, and Bauer has really enjoyed pitching in Cleveland as he is 3-1 with a sparkling 2.82 ERA and 48 strikeouts vs. 17 walks at Progressive Field.
He is facing a Seattle offense that has been the main reason for the Mariners’ slump of late, an offense batting .238 vs. right-handed pitchers overall this season while averaging 3.87 runs per game against them and that is batting .221 while averaging a pathetic 1.90 runs vs. right-handers over the last 10 games!
Iwakuma Solid Again
Iwakuma actually put up some Cy Young caliber numbers last season when he went 14-6 with a 2.66 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 185 strikeouts vs. just 42 walks, often while getting overlooked pitching in the shadow of Felix Hernandez in the Great Northwest.
Iwakuma has not quite duplicated those gaudy numbers this season, but he has still been very solid while going 8-5 with a 3.09 ERA, an excellent 0.99 WHIP and an unbelievable ratio of 88 strikeouts vs. eight walks in 110.2 innings, with those 0.65 walks per nine innings being the best such rate in the Major Leagues among qualified starting pitchers!
Granted Iwakuma comes off a mediocre start vs. the Baltimore Orioles where he allowed four runs in seven innings, but he should bounce back well here like he usually does and he is still working on a streak where he has not walked a single batter over his last five starts covering 35.2 innings. Besides, Iwakuma actually had six scoreless innings vs. Baltimore but was done in by a four-run third inning.
Seattle on Nice ‘under’ Streak
The combination of good pitching and suspect offense has made the Mariners prime ‘under’ investments most of this season with it going 61-40 in all of their games, and Seattle has now gone ‘under’ in seven straight games. The ‘under’ is also 10-1 in the last 11 Seattle contests and 36-14-1 in the last 51.
These teams also went ‘under’ in all three games in their only series against each other so far this year in Seattle and look for that pattern to continue in this series opener from Cleveland on Tuesday.
MLB Pick: Mariners, Indians ‘under’ 7½ (-115)