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 Tuesday.
Do not expect too many runs Tuesday night with neither team setting the world on fire offensively as Matt Shoemaker and the Los Angeles Angels (28-29, 31-27 away) pay a visit to fellow right-hander Nathan Karns and the Tampa Bay Rays (31-27, 13-14 home) for the first game of a three-game series from Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, FL at 7:10 ET in a game available on Sun Sports.
The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 7½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -121.
Still 1½ Behind Yankees
The Rays return home from a successful 7-3 road trip that ended with them taking three out of four games from the Seattle Mariners way up in the Great Northwest despite failing to score more than three runs in any of the four games, which should give you an idea how great the Tampa Bay pitching has been. Thus the second place Rays kept pace with the red-hot first place New York Yankees, as Tampa Bay is 1½ out in the American League East.
The Angels were off to a slow start this season before picking things up nicely, but they have now been the losing MLB picks in five straight games after losing their last two games vs. these Rays in a series back home in Anaheim last week and then heading east and getting swept in a three-game series by those Yankees in the Bronx this past weekend. The Halos are in third place in the American League West, five games behind the surprising first place Houston Astros.
Sophomore Jinx for Shoemaker?
Shoemaker had a nice rookie season on the surface for the Angels last season when he went an amazing 16-4 with a 3.04 ERA, but he out-performed his peripheral numbers while doing so and regression is raring it ugly head in his sophomore season, as he is 3-4 with a bloated 5.08 ERA while already matching his total losses for all of last year.
However, Shoemaker has pitched much better over his last two starts allowing a grand total of one earned run and eight hits in 12.1 innings with 11 strikeouts, and he has pitched well in his two career starts vs. the Rays over which he has allowed a total of three earned runs in 11 innings.
He now gets to face a Tampa Bay lineup that is batting just .234 vs. right handed pitchers overall this season while averaging 3.58 runs against them, a batting average that drops to a measly .213 vs. right-handers over the last 10 games while averaging 3.30 runs.
Rookie Karns Has Been Effective
Meanwhile the rookie Karns is at 3-2 with a 3.63 ERA and a very good 1.16 WHIP, as he had allowed two runs or less in five straight starts beginning with an April 27th outing vs. the Yankees prior to his start vs. these Angels in Anaheim last Wednesday. Karns has his worst start in a while that game allowing four runs in five innings on five hits including two home runs, but he can make the necessary adjustments facing the same opponent for the second straight start.
Besides, the Angels are still batting a disappointing .236 vs. right-handed pitchers overall this season, and they have been worse than that on the road batting a paltry .224 vs. right-handers. In fact, the overall Los Angeles team batting average this season of .238 ranks only 26th in the Major Leagues, which is surprising given the Angels’ offensive reputation, and they are 22nd in runs scored at 3.95 per game and 26th in team OPS at .680.
In other words, the Rays are not the only team here with a struggling offense and Karns seems more than capable of bouncing back well at home.
Tropicana Field Favors Pitching
Finally, Tropicana Field has long been recognized as a pitchers’ ballpark and the ‘under’ is currently on a 7-2-1 run in Tampa Bay home games. Granted that only leaves the ‘over’ and ‘under’ dead even at “The Trop” this year at 13-13-1, but more relevant is the combined average total runs in those games of 7.41 per contest.
Look for these starters to do enough against these mediocre offenses to also keep this game between the Los Angeles Angels and Tampa Bay relatively low scoring in St. Petersburg on Tuesday.
MLB Pick: Angels, Rays ‘under’ 7½ (-121)