Each day the LT Profits Sports Group seeks out an MLB total that does not add up and offers the most value that day. Here is their Total Value Play of the Day for Sunday.
Runs could be hard to come by in a matchup of two pitchers that have both pitched well in four of their last five starts when Mike Leake and the Cincinnati Reds (71-78, 31-43 away) pay a visit to fellow right-hander Matt Garza and the Milwaukee Brewers (77-72, 40-37 home) in the final game of a three-game weekend series from Miller Park in Milwaukee, WI at 2:10 ET.
The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 7½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -114.
Now Fighting for a Playoff Spot
The Brewers were one of the most pleasant surprises in baseball while leading the National League Central for most of this season, but their inability to beat he current division leaders, the St. Louis Cardinals, has proven costly and they have dropped all the way to third place, five games behind St. Louis and more importantly 1½ games behind the Pittsburgh Pirates, not only for second place but more critically for the second and last wild card spot!
The Reds may still be mathematically alive for a playoff spot but they are not realistic MLB picks to reach the post-season for the second straight year, as they are in fourth place six games behind Milwaukee and 7½ behind Pittsburgh for that coveted second wild card position with just 13 games remaining. Cincinnati was simply unable to overcome its injuries to its best hitters and at this point is probably better off keeping former MVP Joey Votto out for the rest of the season.
Garza Has Been Solid
The Brewers may have tailed off, but Garza has remained solid except for one bad start vs. the Chicago Cubs two starts back where he was touched up for six runs and eight hits in only three innings. That was the only outing in the last five starts though where Garza has allowed more than one earned run!
Garza may be just 7-8 for the season, but he has now lowered his ERA to a more respectable if not spectacular 3.83 ERA and he has a very good 1.19 WHIP with 114 strikeouts vs. 45 walks. He has also allowed a reasonable 11 home runs in 25 starts, helping lead to a good 3.49 FIP. He now gets to face a Cincinnati offense that is batting just .236 overall vs. right-handed pitchers this season while averaging only 3.64 runs against them.
Another Steady Year for Leake
Leake come off of his best season in the Major Leagues last season when he finished 14-7 with a 3.37 ERA, and he has done his best this season to prove 2013 was not a fluke. Leake probably deserves better than his 11-11 record as, like the rest of the Reds’ rotation, he has not gotten much support while posting a 3.62 ERA and 1.24 WHIP with an excellent ratio of 149 strikeouts vs. 43 walks.
And like Garza, Leake would have excellent recent stats if not for one outlying bad start as he has now allowed three runs or less in four of his last five starts with the exception coming when he was roughed up for seven runs on seven hits including three home runs in four innings by the hard-hitting Baltimore Orioles two starts back.
Leake could also be catching the Brewers at the perfect time as Milwaukee has slumped to just a .229 batting average while averaging only 3.10 runs per game in the last 10 games overall.
Both Teams on ‘under’ Streaks
These clubs have split the first two games of this series with both games staying safely ‘under’, as the Brewers took the series opener 3-2 on Friday before the Reds came back to win 5-1 last night. That means that both teams are currently on identical four-game ‘under’ streaks.
Look for those streaks to get extended by at least one more game in Milwaukee on Sunday.
MLB Pick: Reds, Brewers ‘under’ 7½ (-114)