Each day LT Profits Sports seeks an MLB overlay that has a better chance of cashing than its odds, offering long term value. Here is their Underdog Value Play for Wednesday.
There could be a nice upset with playoff implications in interleague play Wednesday night when Kyle Hendricks and the also-ran Chicago Cubs (64-81, 29-45 away) pay a visit to fellow right-hander Drew Hutchison and the still playoff hopeful Toronto Blue Jays (75-69, 36-38 home) in the final game of a three-game series from Rogers Centre in Toronto, ON Canada at 7:07 ET in a game available on CSN-Chicago.
The posted money line at Pinnacle Sports has Chicago as a decided underdog for this contest at current odds of +159.
Still in Wild Card Range
The Blue jays have taken the first two games of this series in emphatic fashion by scores of 8-0 and 9-2, although eight of the nine runs last night came off of the Cub bullpen in the final two innings, and they are still viable MLB picks for the second wild card spot at 4½ games out, although they also have the Seattle Mariners between them and that spot, which at day’s end will belong to the loser of tonight’s Royals vs. Tigers game as those two tied for the AL Central lead.
The Cubs are in last place in the NL Central, but they did show some improvement for a while as they started bringing up their hotter prospects from the minor leagues. Unfortunately, they have now hit another road block as they have lost five straight games, but the good new is that one of the prospects they called up looks like a future stopper that may very well fill that role tonight and put a crimp in the Blue Jays’ playoff chances.
Very Bright Future Ahead
Hendricks allowed four runs in six innings in his Major League debut on July 10th, but the youngster has been outstanding while allowing two runs or less in each of his nine starts since then, netting him a 6-1 record with a 2.02 ERA and 1.06 WHIP overall. Hendricks is not a strikeout gut with only 34 of them in 62.1 innings, but he does have excellent command with 12 walks and a nice 49.0 percent groundball rate.
Perhaps the most remarkable thing about Hendricks is that a Cubs’ team that is now 17 games below .500 overall has gone 9-1 in the games that he has started, including winning his last seven starts in a row! Yes, Hendricks was the winning pitcher in the last game Chicago won before the five-game skid, beating the Milwaukee Brewers 6-2 last Wednesday.
Granted the Toronto offense has been hot, but this will be Hendricks’s first appearance ever vs. the Blue Jays, which is usually to a good pitcher’s advantage.
Hutchison was a nice prospect when he first came up with the Blue Jays in 2012, but he then underwent the now prevalent Tommy John surgery and did not return to the Major Leagues until this season. Granted he enters this contest on a roll with a 1.89 ERA and 1.00 WHIP in his last three starts, but he has had some other stretches like this at times this year only to regress soon afterwards in what for the most part has been an erratic season.
The end result has been a 9-11 record despite pitching for a winning team with a potent offense, with just a 4.47 ERA overall. He has a good enough ratio of 149 strikeouts vs. 53 walks in 163 innings, but he has been a pronounced fly ball pitcher with a very low 36.5 percent groundball rate, which has led to 18 home runs allowed an a rather high 4.04 xFIP.
While Hutchison has had some bright moments as mentioned, he is still unreliable at this point in this favorite role, and that is evidenced by the fact that the Blue Jays are just 2-5 the last seven times he has been installed as a favorite and 2-6 the last eight times he has been a home favorite.
Considering how great his mound opponent Hendricks has looked thus far, look for those trends to continue and for the Cubs to prevail at a very nice underdog price north of the border on Wednesday.
MLB Pick: Cubs +159