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.
A couple of pitchers in good form could produce an ‘under’ Monday night in South Beach when Shelby Miller and the St. Louis Cardinals (62-54, 29-29 away) pay a visit to fellow right-hander Tom Koehler and the Miami Marlins (57-60, 31-28 home) in the first game of a three-game series from Marlins Ballpark in Miami, FL at 7:10 ET.
The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 7½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at a positive +103.
Trying to Put Pressure on the Brewers
While the Milwaukee Brewers have been leading the National League Central this entire season, the Cardinals have made a charge and are just two games back in second place. St. Louis pulled to within one game last week but failed to get over the hump and have so far been unable to at least draw on even terms with Milwaukee. The Cardinals avoided a three-game sweep by salvaging the last game of an interleague series 8-3 over the Orioles in Baltimore Sunday.
The Marlins were promising MLB picks at the beginning of this season but things started going downhill once young stud ace Jose Fernandez was lost for the year and then the offense declined following a hot start. As a result Miami is now three games below .500 although the Fish still trail the first place Washington Nationals by only 6½ games while in third place in the National League East.
Miller Rediscovered His Form?
Miller performed very well as a rookie for St. Louis last season winning 15 games while posting a 3.06 ERA and 169 strikeouts in 173.1 innings vs. 57 walks, and he may be on the verge of recapturing that fine form after limiting the Red Sox to one run and four hits in seven innings last Wednesday.
You see, it has been mostly a struggle for Miller in his second season until now, as he is only 8-8 with a 3.99 ERA and just 85 strikeouts vs. 56 walks in 128.2 innings. Furthermore, Miller’s 4.68 FIP right now is the fifth highest in the Major Leagues among qualified starters.
However, Wednesday marked the third straight start that Miller allowed two runs or less as he has a 2.41 ERA and a tiny 0.59 WHIP in those outings with a nice ratio of 12 strikeouts vs. only one walk, and he is again hitting 94 MPH in recent starts, so we may see the 2013 version of Miller for the rest of this season.
Koehler Has Been Solid
Koehler has been quietly effective for the Marlins this year despite his 7-9 record as he has a 3.80 ERA, 1.23 WHIP and a .232 batting average allowed, and he has been at his best here at home where he is 4-4 but with a spiffy 2.45 ERA and 0.95 WHIP in 10 starts covering 66 innings. Sure he allowed four runs on five hits in six innings of a loss to the Pirates in Pittsburgh last time out, but that stopped a streak of four straight starts allowing three runs or less.
Although the Cardinals busted out a season-high 17 hits on Sunday, Koehler is facing a St. Louis offense that is still batting only .232 vs. right-handed pitchers on the road this season. He also has the support of a Miami bullpen that is faring well as of late with a 2.35 ERA over the last 10 games.
Marlins Not Hitting
The Marlins are struggling against all kinds of pitching right now, batting .193 and averaging 2.70 runs per game overall in the last 10 games, and they are averaging just 2.43 runs vs. right-handed pitchers during this span.
Therefore, expect both offenses to struggle in a very low scoring game in Miami on Monday.
MLB Pick: Cardinals, Miami ‘under’ 7½ (+103)