Each day during the MLB Playoffs, LT Profits seeks a side that has a better chance of cashing than its odds would indicate. Here is their MLB Playoff Value Play for Wednesday.
After a tough extra-inning loss on a throwing error yesterday, the visiting team needs to bounce back Wednesday night to tie the series when Shelby Miller and those St. Louis Cardinals (94-75, 40-44 away) again pay a visit to fellow righty Ryan Vogelsong and the San Francisco Giants (94-76, 47-37 home) in Game 4 of the NLCS from AT&T Park in San Francisco, CA at 8:07 ET in a game televised nationally on FOX Sports 1 with the Giants leading the series 2-1.
The posted money line at Pinnacle Sports has St. Louis as a slight underdog for this contest at current odds of +104.
Nice Rally Wasted
The Cardinals looked like certain losers on the MLB picks in Game 3 yesterday when the Giants scored four runs in the bottom of the first inning for a 4-0 lead, but St. Louis showed its grit by coming back to tie the game and force extras while holding San Francisco scoreless after that first frame until the 10th inning, when a throwing error by relief pitcher Randy Choate allowed the Giants’ Brandon Crawford to score and ruined the Cardinals’ hard work.
Thus the Cards were unable to re-seize the home field advantage that they earned for this series vs. the wild cards from San Francisco by winning the National League Central after losing that advantage by losing Game 1 to Giant ace Madison Bumgarner 3-0 in St. Louis. This series could take on a whole new complexion though if the Cardinals can even it up today as they have their ace Adam Wainwright slated to work Game 5.
Miller Turning Things Around
The St. Louis Game 4 starter Miller was mostly a disappointment this year after he was a key piece to the Cardinals’ run to the World Series last year. After going 15-9 with a 3.06 ERA and 169 strikeouts vs. 57 walks as a rookie in 2013, Miller slipped to 10-9 with a 3.74 ERA and even his command numbers took a big dip to just 127 strikeouts vs. 73 walks in 183 innings. However, he seems to have rediscovered his good form late in the year just in the nick of time!
Miller pitched well in the deciding Game 4 of the NLDS vs. the Dodgers allowing just two runs on five hits in 5.2 innings, giving his Cardinals a chance to rally against Clayton Kershaw for the 3-2 triumph that ended the series. Including that start, Miller has now allowed three runs or less in eight straight starts with a 2.20 ERA and 0.96 WHIP over those outings, and even his command is coming back as he had a good ratio of 36 strikeouts vs. 12 walks in those starts.
Miller did not face the Giants this season but he allowed a total of two runs in two starts against them last year including tossing seven scoreless innings while allowing six hits with seven strikeouts vs. one walk in the last encounter. Miller is supported by a St. Louis bullpen that has posted a good 2.38 ERA over 22.2 post-season innings this year.
The Weakest Link
Vogelsong is probably the weakest link in the San Francisco rotation right now after going just 8-13 with a 4.00 ERA during the regular season. Yes he pitched well on his NLDS start vs. the Washington Nationals allowing one run in 5.2 innings, but that start may actually have him a tad over-valued this go-around.
That becomes especially true when you consider Vogelsong’s history vs. the Cardinals that shows him with a 2-6 record and a 6.17 ERA and 1.60 WHIP, allowing St. Louis batters to hit a whopping .301 off of him in 65.2 innings. That includes a 4.05 ERA and a .277 batting average allowed in his two starts vs. St. Louis this season.
More Long Ball Potential
Finally, the Cardinals have done a better job of flexing their muscles this series with five home runs in three games while the Giants have yet to hit a single one. And not all the home runs have come from the most likely sources either, as their number eight hitter Randal Grichuk homered yesterday and the unheralded Kolten Wong hit the game-winning walk-off homer in Game 2 in St. Louis.
Add this all up and we are calling for St. Louis to even the series at an underdog price at San Francisco on Wednesday.
MLB Pick: Cardinals +104