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 Sunday.
With one of the more underrated pitchers in baseball tossing in a pitcher-friendly stadium on Sunday, look for a third straight ‘under’ between the teams when underappreciated right-hander Danny Salazar and the Cleveland Indians (23-26, 13-12 away) pay a visit to southpaw J.A. Happ and the Seattle Mariners (24-25, 12-12 home) for the finale of a four-game series from Safeco Field in Seattle, WA at 4:10 ET in a game available on SportsTime Ohio.
The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 7 for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -101.
Tribe Picking Up Steam
The Indians got off to a terrible start this season, but they won for the ninth time in 12 games here last night and for the second time in the first three games of this series, and they have closed the gap between themselves and the first place Kansas City Royals to seven games while escaping the American League Central basement, moving into fourth place by passing the White Sox on Saturday.
These teams also went ‘under’ the last two nights after the ‘over’ was barely the winning MLB pick in the Tribe’s 5-3 win in the series opener on Thursday. The Mariners have become accustomed to low scoring games over the years, but a supposedly improved offense makes their 24-25 record to this point disappointing this year given some lofty preseason aspirations that including making the playoffs for the first time since 2001, when Seattle won 116 games.
Quick…Who Leads Majors Leagues in Strikeout Rate?
Do you know who currently leads all qualified Major League starting pitchers in strikeouts per nine innings? Well, unless you just looked it up, you might be surprised to learn that it is Salazar, who has an impressive 66 strikeouts in 49.1 innings for a superfluous 12.04 strikeouts per nine innings, and he has done that against just 12 walks! That has led to a spiffy 2.61 xFIP that fairly dwarfs his 3.65 ERA, which is almost always a good sign.
As if that does not make Salazar enough of a difficult assignment for the Mariners, also consider that this is the first time that they have ever faced him! Now, take that unfamiliarity and combine it with a pitchers’ park and the fact that the Mariners are batting a mere .229 vs. right-handed pitchers overall this year while averaging only 3.51 runs against them, and the prospects appear very bleak for Seattle to generate much offense today.
Dominant in Two Starts vs. Cleveland
Granted, Happ is off to an unrealistic start allowing three runs or less in seven of his first nine starts including allowing two runs or less in six of them and his negative regression seems imminent considering his fairly well established 4.21 career ERA, but his dream start may actually continue for at least one more outing here. That is because the current Indians’ roster is a pathetic 15-for-80 vs. Happ for a distressing .188 batting average with three homers and 9 RBI.
As you might expect, Happ has been dominant in his two starts vs. a Cleveland team that has had some trouble vs. left-handed pitching in recent years, allowing a grand total of two runs and 10 hits in 13 innings. Now the Indians have improved a bit vs. left-handers this season overall, but that has not been the case on the road where they still stand at just .232 against them.
Finally, Safeco Field has long been recognized as one of the best pitchers’ parks in baseball, and that is a key reason why the ‘under’ is an unbelievable 44-18-3 in the Mariners’ last 65 games here! Even with the Mariners adding home run champion Nelson Cruz to the lineup this season, the ‘under’ is still 15-8 in Seattle with games averaging just a combined 7.08 runs.
And there is really no reason to expect many fireworks with this pitching matchup either, so go ‘under’ the total when Cleveland wraps up its four-game series at Seattle on Sunday.
MLB Pick: Indians, Mariners ‘under’ 7 (-101)