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 Thursday.
After a couple of ‘overs’ in the two wild card games, look for the pitchers to take over in at least one of the divisional playoff contests Thursday night as southpaw Jason Vargas and the Kansas City Royals (90-73, 47-34 away) pay a visit to right-hander Jered Weaver and the Los Angeles Angels (98-64, 52-29 home) in Game 1 of the ALDS from Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA at 9:07 ET in a game televised nationally on TBS.
The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 8 for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -117.
A Game for the Ages
These 2014 MLB Playoffs had an amazing start as the Royals never quit when they easily could have while rallying several times vs. the Oakland Athletics in the American League Wild Card Game, overcoming a 7-3 deficit vs. A’s ace Jon Lester and even re-rallying after falling behind 8-7 in the 12th inning as they scored two runs in the bottom of the frame for an exhilarating 9-8 victory on a walk-off single by Salvador Perez.
The Angels meanwhile have been laying in wait as the American League West Champions, and they earned this matchup with the Wild Card Playoff winner by being the best MLB picks in the American League this year, in fact finishing with the best record in the entre Major Leagues at 98-64, making them the only team in the majors with a winning percentage of at least .600 at .605.
Re-Invented Himself Well
Weaver used to be a hard thrower and big strikeout pitcher when he challenged for a couple of Cy Young Awards earlier in his career, but his velocity has gotten worse every year to the point where he averaged just 85.9 MPH on his fastball this year. To his credit however, Weaver has been able to overcome that and has actually become a better pitcher in the truer sense, as his results this year were quite impressive for what is now mostly a soft-tosser.
Weaver finished at 18-9 with a 3.59 ERA, and while his strikeout rate was only 7.13 per nine innings, he still ended up with a good ratio with 169 strikeouts vs. 65 walks in 213.1 innings. Also, seemingly out of nowhere Weaver had 24 strikeouts in 20 innings over his last three starts! He was even clocked at an average of 87.9 MPH when that streak began with a 12-strikeout performance vs. the Astros, but he has back to 85.5 MPH by his final start vs. the Mariners.
Still, the recent increase in his strikeout total is certainly encouraging, and also keep in mind while Weaver did not face the Royals this year, he has allowed two runs or less in each of his last six career starts against them.
Better than his Record
Vargas finished at 11-10, but he pitched much better than that while posting a 3.71 ERA with a good ratio of 128 strikeouts vs. 41 walks. Granted the Angles roughed him up for six runs in four innings in Kansas City the last time he faced them on June 27th, but he did allow exactly one run on each of his previous two starts against them, and for whatever reason Vargas has done his best pitching on the road this year.
In fact, his ERA on the road of 2.73 was the seventh best road ERA in the American League this season, as he amazingly allowed two earned runs or less in 11 of his 14 starts away from home on the year! He has enjoyed pitching here at Angel Stadium over the years, going 9-3 lifetime in Anaheim with a 2.86 ERA, including allowing one run on just three hits in 6.1 innings his only start here this season.
Angels ‘under’ Machines at Home
Finally the Angels have strongly trended ‘under’ here at home over the second half of the season, as the ‘under’ has gone 26-12 over their last 38 home games.
Look for that trend to continue into this first playoff game given this mound matchup, so go ‘under’ in Game 1 of the ALDS from Anaheim on Thursday.
MLB Pick: Royals, Angels ‘under’ 8 (-117)