Each day the LT Profits Sports Group seeks out a total that simply does not add up and therefore offers the most value that day. Here is their Total Value Play of the Day for Thursday.
Despite each starter currently sporting a lofty ERA, the ‘under’ could have sneaky value Thursday night when right-hander Mat Latos and the Miami Marlins (29-38, 12-21 away) pay a visit to veteran southpaw C.C. Sabathia and the New York Yankees (35-30, 17-11 home) in the second of two games from Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, NY at 7:05 ET in a game available on YES.
The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 8 for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -115.
Home Teams Have Won the Last Three Nights
This is the final game of a home-and-home series between these teams with two games being played at each site and the home teams have been the winnings MLB picks each of the first three games. Two of those contests were 2-1 pitching duels with Miami winning by that score Monday and the Yankees prevailing when the scenery moved to the Bronx last night, with those two duels sandwiched around a 12-2 Marlins’ rout down south Tuesday.
The two low-scoring affairs the last three nights bring the ‘under’ to 6-2 the last eight meetings overall between these teams and the result last night brings the ‘under’ to 7-1 in the last eight meetings here in the Bronx.
The Yankees have dropped to second in the American League East after leading the division for much of the year, currently trailing the Tampa Bay Rays by one game. The Marlins meanwhile are in fourth place in the National League East and seven games behind the surprising first place New York Mets, and they have actually been playing better baseball going 11-8 in their last 19 games after starting 0-5 for new manager Dan Jennings, who replaced the fired Mike Redmond.
Underrated Latos vs. Struggling Offense
Latos does not have good surface numbers this year at 2-4 with a 5.44 ERA and 1.49 WHIP, but you would have a hard time convincing the Colorado Rockies that Latos is not as good as he has always been after he held them to one run on only four hits with an impressive 11 strikeouts in seven innings in his last start on Saturday.
The reality is that Latos has really had just a couple of awful starts that are still skewing his overall numbers after only 10 outings, as in actuality he has now allowed three runs or less in seven of his last nine starts. He still has a nice strikeout rate of 8.52 per nine innings, so there does not appear to be anything wrong with his arm.
Latos has also cut his home runs allowed considerably to just three so far this year, a nice bye-product on no longer pitching in the launching pad that is Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, and his ERA has been inflated by some bad luck in yielding a .351 BABIP. The bottom line is that his fine 3.08 FIP and 3.65 xFIP are truer indicators of Latos’s ability, so he should show some positive regression which may have begun with the start vs. Colorado.
And now he gets to face a struggling Yankees’ offense that has scored a total of five runs vs. Miami pitching the last three nights and that is batting .228 over the last five games overall while averaging 2.86 runs.
Sabathia Also Better Than His ERA
Sabathia also does not look great on the surface at 3-7 with a 5.38 ERA and 1.44 WHIP, but similar to Latos, a closer inspection reveals that C.C. has not been as bad as those numbers suggest. Perhaps the most obvious indication that Sabathia should see improvement in his mainstream stats soon are his command numbers which show he has a nice ratio of 67 strikeouts vs. just 15 walks in 77 innings.
That ratio has helped lead to a far more representative 3.51 xFIP, and just as importantly he is popping 90 MPH with his fastball with regularity again. The significance of that is it was not the case last year while Sabathia was favoring a knee injury that ultimately required surgery, ending his season after just eight starts. His current velocity points to Sabathia’s health, so he may again return to being the workhorse that topped 200 innings seven straight years before last season.
He now gets to face a Miami lineup that is batting only .238 while averaging 3.64 runs vs. left-handed pitchers on the road this year. The Marlins are also unfamiliar with Sabathia as his career body of work vs. Miami consists of just 1.1 innings all the way back in 2009, which should make him tougher to hit.
Not Many Tack-On Runs
Finally, do not look for many late tack-on runs in this contest, which have ruined many ‘unders’ in the past. That is because the Miami bullpen has been on fire as of late, posting a 2.96 ERA in the last 10 games including a miniscule 0.82 ERA and 0.91 WHIP over the last five contests, while the Yankees have had one of the best bullpens in baseball all season ranking fourth in the American League with a 3.26 pen ERA.
So look for this contest to more closely resemble the two 2-1 games these teams have played in the last three nights than the one Marlins explosion on Tuesday as Miami and New York go ‘under’ again at Yankee Stadium Thursday night.
MLB Pick: Marlins, Yankees ‘under’ 8 (-115)