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 Wednesday.
The total seems awfully deflated in a late afternoon affair on Wednesday when Lance McCullers and the Houston Astros (42-31, 19-17 away) pay a visit to fellow right-hander Matt Shoemaker and the Los Angeles Angels (36-36, 20-16 home) in the final game of a three-game series from Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA at 3:35 ET in a game available on ROOT.
The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 7½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘over’ set at -108.
Still Leading the American League West
This is the rubber match of this three-game set as the Angels took the opener on Monday 4-3 before the Astros applied a 13-3 trashing last night in support of Collin McHugh, roughing up Halos’ starter C.J. Wilson for seven earned runs in 3.1 innings. Thus the upstarts from Houston continue to lead the American League West by four games over the second place Texas Rangers after being the doormats of the league the last several years.
It is easy to forget that the Angels finished with the best record in the Major Leagues last season at 98-64, as they are just .500 MLB picks right now at 36-36 and in third place in the division, 5½ games behind these Astros. At least Los Angeles has hung in this head-to-head series so far this year to avoid being in a bigger hole, with Houston owning a slim 5-4 series edge.
Shoemaker had a sensational rookie season last year when he finished a scintillating 16-4 with a 3.04 ERA, but the superstitious would say the “Sophomore Jinx” is in full effect this year as he stands at 4-5 with a bloated 5.20 ERA, already taking more losses than all of last year, and just when it had appeared he straightened himself out, he came back with a couple of more clinkers including allowing five earned runs on eight hits in just four innings Friday in Oakland.
This regression obviously does not really have anything to do with any jinx, but rather Shoemaker far out-performed his peripherals last season and he is now paying the price this year with his mainstream numbers and sabremetric numbers more in line. And we do not foresee any improvement today vs. a hot Houston offense.
The Astros were winning for most of the year despite ranking toward the bottom of the majors in batting, and even now they remain just 26th with a .242 average overall. But to say that they are trending in the right direction would be an understatement as they are batting .285 while averaging a hefty 7.24 runs over the last 10 games! And they do lead the Major Leagues with their 107 home runs.
Worst Start for McCullers
Now, McCullers is a future superstar in the making as he was one of the most highly regarded pitching prospects in baseball entering this season thanks to a 95 MPH fastball and an 84 MPH plus-curve that has enough separation to make him lethal at times, and he has lived up to the billing at the Major League level going 3-2 with an excellent 2.45 ERA and 1.02 WHIP in seven starts with a fantastic ratio of 46 strikeouts vs. 13 walks in 40.1 innings.
With that being said, Lance comes off of his worst start in the majors as he was touched up for five runs on six hits plus three walks in just 4.1 innings by the Mariners in Seattle on Friday, requiring 88 pitches for that brief 4.1-inning stint. So this will be his first test for resiliency, and how he reacts today could give an indication toward how successful he could really be.
But the bottom line here is that McCullers may not even need to allow a lot of runs for this game to go ‘over’ if the Houston offense remains hot and Shoemaker continues to struggle.
Terrific ‘over’ Run
Finally, thanks to the Houston offense perking up nicely lately, the ‘over’ is now a very lucrative 10-1-1 in the Astros’ last 12 games overall! The ‘over’ is also 7-1-1 in Shoemaker’s last nine starts inside the American League West as the teams that have seen him the most often have begun to figure him out.
Look for more of the same today so go ‘over’ what looks like a deflated total when Houston visits the Los Angeles Angels for a late afternoon matinee in Anaheim on Wednesday.
MLB Pick: Astros, Angels ‘over’ 7½ (-108)