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 Monday.
Look for a pitching duel in the regularly scheduled game Monday night when southpaw Danny Duffy and the Kansas City Royals (84-70, 42-32 away) pay a visit to right-hander Carlos Carrasco (81-74, 45-30 home) in what is officially the first game of a three-game weekend series from Progressive Field in Cleveland, OH in a contest tentatively scheduled for 7:05 ET and televised regionally on MLB Network.
Keep in mind that this game will begin after the completion of a game that was suspended in Kansas City three weeks ago, with the suspended game resuming at 6:05 ET. This selection is obviously on the “regular” contest that follows.
The posted total at Bet365 is 7 for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -125.
Chasing a Playoff Spot
The Royals have not made the playoffs since winning the 1985 World Series, with that 29-year drought being the longest current post-season absence in the Major Leagues. However, Kansas City could be a good MLB pick to break that streak this season, although the Royals are far from guaranteed of being in yet. They have a 1½-game lead over the Seattle Mariners and are even only 1½ games behind the Detroit Tigers for the American League Central Division title.
However, that wild card hold will more likely be just one game and the division deficit would be two games before this game begins, as the Royals trail 4-2 in the 10th inning of the suspended contest. And the Indians are not out of the wild card conversation either. Granted, their chances look bleak as they trail the Royals by 3½ games, but they can actually pass Kansas City if they complete the suspended-game win and then sweep this series at home, where they are 45-30.
Carrasco Great as a Starter
Carrasco has always been a starter since entering the Major Leagues and he began this season in the starting rotation as usual, but he was demoted to the bullpen after posting a 6.95 ERA in four April starts. However, he pitched well enough in his 26 relief appearances to merit re-insertion in the rotation, and the Indians are glad they did so because Carrasco has suddenly pitched as well as any other pitcher in baseball since his return start on August 10th.
He has made eight starts since then and has allowed one run or less in seven of them including four scoreless outings. And his last start may have been his best yet as he tossed a Complete Game two-hit shutout with 12 strikeouts vs. one walk. Carrasco is 8-5 with a 2.65 ERA and 0.98 WHIP for the entire season with 121 strikeouts in 119 innings vs. 25 walks, and he has a 1.17 ERA and 0.76 WHIP with 59 strikeouts vs. seven walks in those last eight starts.
Carrasco has not faced the Royals as a starter this season but he has allowed three runs or less in four of his last five career starts against them.
Duffy Not Regressing as Expected
Duffy has had a season that keeps defying his sabremetric numbers, as his numbers never did converge to those as you would expect. In fact, every time Duffy threw in a clunker that made his expected regression seem imminent, he instead rebounded very well such as by allowing exactly one earned run in three straight starts before leaving his last outing vs. the New York Yankees in the first inning due a sore shoulder.
Duffy has had more than two weeks off since then though and he had a successful bullpen outing on Friday that suggests that he is recovered from the shoulder issues. He may be only 8-11 this season, but it is his 2.42 ERA and 1.08 WHIP over 141.1 innings that defies logic given his 4.40 xFIP, as he has been greatly helped by an abnormally low .232 BABIP despite owning a very low groundball rate of 35.6 percent.
Still, assuming Duffy is in full health, he is capable of keeping his joyride going here considering the Indians are averaging only 3.03 runs vs. left-handed pitchers over the last 10 games and that Duffy has allowed just one earned run and seven hits in 13.2 innings in his last two starts against them.
Both Teams Trending ‘under’
Finally, both teams have nice ‘under’ trends entering this game as the ‘under’ is 20-8-1 in the Indians’ last 29 home games as well as 6-2-2 in the Royals’ last 10 road games.
Look for those patterns to get extended by at least one more game with another ‘under’ in the regularly scheduled game in Cleveland on Monday.
MLB Pick: Royals, Indians ‘under’ 7 (-125)