Each day during the MLB Playoffs, LT Profits seek out a total that does not add up and offers the most value that day. Here is their Playoff Total Value Play of the Day for Tuesday.
As expected, Game 1 of the World Series Tuesday night is a battle of staff aces, but in this case that does not necessarily mean that there will be a total scarcity of runs when southpaw Madison Bumgarner and the San Francisco Giants (96-76, 47-39 away) pay a visit to right-hander James Shields and the Kansas City Royals (97-73, 46-39 home) in the series opener from Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, MO at 8:07 ET in a game televised nationally on FOX.
The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 6½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘over’ set at a positive +108.
Neither Team Won 90 Games
The 2014 World Series will be an all wild card World Series and also the first series ever where neither team won 90 games on the MLB picks during a non-strike interrupted regular season. Still, do not for a minute think that these clubs do not belong here, especially a Kansas City team that has already set a Major League record by winning its first eight games during a single post-season heading into this Fall Classic.
And you cannot diminish what the Giants have done to get here either, especially since, unlike the Royals, they were on the road for their single-elimination National League Wild Card Playoff, and they still got the job done before disposing of the top seeded Washington Nationals 3-1 in the NLDS and the National League Central Champion St. Louis Cardinals 4-1 in the NLCS.
Fifth Post-Season Start for Bumgarner
Giant ace Madison Bumgarner has been a busy man this post-season as this will mark his fifth start already. And as we mentioned in our side selection for this Game 1, while Bumgarner pitched well enough in the deciding Game 5 vs. the Cardinals when he was charged with three earned runs in eight innings, he was still not nearly as sharp as he was in his three post-season starts.
You see, Bumgarner allowed two earned runs in 23.1 innings in those first three starts, and it could very easily have been three scoreless outings as the two earned runs he was charged with were helped along by his own throwing error in Game 3 of the NLDS vs. the Nationals. He may have been showing signs of fatigue though in his last start in his fourth highly pressurized effort in such a short span, and he is now making his fifth such start on normal four days rest.
A couple of extra days off may have done Bumgarner some good, but without them we may see a tad more regression that may have begun last time out.
Shields Needed the Rest
Shields on the other hand has not pitched since Game 1 of the ALCS vs. the Orioles thanks to another Kansas City sweep, so he will now be going on 10 days rest. And he sure looked like he could use this rest as Baltimore reached Shields for four earned runs on 10 hits in just five innings as he did not figure in the decision.
Shields had a better regular season than his 14-8 record suggested as he finished with a 3.21 ERA and a nice ratio of 180 strikeouts vs. 44 walks. However that shaky start in Baltimore was his second sub-par outing in three playoff starts this year, and although he should be closer to his usual “Big Game Shields” self with the extra rest, he still figures to allow a few runs.
And with this posted total so low, that could be all it takes to push this contest ‘over’, especially if Bumgarner pitches closer to his last outing and not to his first three sparkling playoff starts.
Do Not Forget the Offenses
Finally, if you disregard the Oakland Athletics who scored eight runs in their single-game Wild Card loss, these two clubs have had the highest scoring averages among all other playoff teams this post-season with the Royals averaging 5.3 runs per game and the Giants averaging 4.1. The Royals have done it with speed as they have 13 stolen bases, while the Giants have compensated for their ordinary .244 average by having 18 extra-base hits and 36 walks drawn.
Add this all up and going ‘over’ this low total seems like the prudent move in World Series Game 1 from Kansas City on Tuesday.
MLB Pick: Giants, Royals ‘over’ 6½ (+108)