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 Monday.
There could be some rather deceptive value on the ‘under’ north of the border Monday night when southpaw Brad Hand and the Miami Marlins (24-33, 12-17 away) pay a visit to right-hander Marco Estrada and the Toronto Blue Jays (28-30, 17-12 home) in the first game of a three-game interleague series from Rogers Centre in Toronto, ON Canada at 7:07 ET in a game available on FOX Sports - Florida.
The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 8½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at a positive +106.
Both Teams Playing Better
Both of these teams enter this series playing good baseball. The Blue Jays have now won five straight games, first taking the last two games vs. the Washington Nationals on the road during interleague play last week and then sweeping a three-game series from the first place team in the American League West, the Houston Astros, scoring three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to complete the sweep 7-6 on Sunday.
The Marlins underachieved to begin this season and fired former manager Mike Redmond, making the unorthodox decision to replace him with general manager Dan Jennings. Miami then went on to be the losing MLB pick in its first five games with Jennings at the helm, but it has since gone a commendable 8-6 including four wins in the last five games after taking two out of three games from the Rockies in Colorado over the weekend.
More Change-Up Equals More Strikeouts
The Toronto starter Estrada has always been a good strikeout pitcher without much fanfare while spending the bulk of his Major League career with the Milwaukee Brewers prior to this year. Estrada currently has 546 strikeouts in 586.1 career Major League innings and the Jays thought highly enough of him to trade first baseman first baseman Adam Lind for him during the off-season.
Now Estrada has decent surface numbers in his first season in the American League at 2-3 but with a 3.77 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and 38 strikeouts vs. 16 walks. What is not apparent though is that Estrada has the fourth highest whiff percentage on his change-up this year in the Major Leagues among starting pitchers that feature change-ups, according to our friends at fangraphs.com, at 23.1 percent.
The good news there is that Estrada is throwing his change-up more than ever this season and it could be an excellent pitch vs. a very young Marlins’ lineup that can be overlay aggressive at times. Miami is fifth in the National League in strikeouts per game offensively with Marlins’ batters whiffing 7.8 times per contest.
Serviceable Hand So Far
Hand has been a highly regarded farmhand in the Miami system for several years without much Major League success. However, that may be about to change as after beginning this season in the bullpen, he has given a fine account of himself in two starts since injuries thrust him into the Marlins’ starting rotation, first tossing five scoreless innings while allowing four his vs. the Pittsburgh Pirates and then allowing two runs on six hits in six innings vs. the Chicago Cubs.
That last outing netted Hand his first win of the season as he is now 1-1 with a 4.24 ERA and 1.26 WHIP, and that ERA is deceiving when you consider Hand’s 2.52 FIP and 3.63 xFIP, and he has also been a tad unlucky yielding a .315 BABIP while owning a good 48.2 percent groundball rate.
Hand could have success if that BABIP stabilizes and he maintains that groundball rate, especially vs. a Toronto lineup that is not particularly fleet of foot. The Blue Jays are also unfamiliar with Hand with this being his first ever start against them.
Finally for all of you trend-lovers out there, consider that the ‘under’ is 13-3 in the Marlins’ last 16 games vs. right-handed starters including 5-1 on the road, as well as 12-3-2 in the Blue Jays’ last 17 games after scoring five runs or more in their previous game.
Given the relatively hidden value in both of these starting pitchers, look for those ‘under’ trends to continue in this interleague battle, as Miami ventures into Canada to visit Toronto on Monday.
MLB Pick: Marlins, Blue Jays ‘under’ 8½ (+106)