MLB Pick on Red Sox, Rays to stay ‘under’ the Total

LT Profits Sports Group

Thursday, April 23, 2015 3:36 PM GMT

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 Thursday.

 



Runs could be hard to come by down south Thursday night when Clay Buchholz and the Boston Red Sox (9-6, 5-3 away) pay a visit to the fellow right-hander Jake Odorizzi and the Tampa Bay Rays (7-8, 2-6 home) in the final game of a three-game series from Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, FL at 7:10 ET in a game available on NESN.

The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 7½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -110.


Red Sox Fulfilling High Hopes?
After finishing dead last in the American League East last season, more than a few experts predicted a worst to first move for the Red Sox in the division this year and so far they have obliged this young season, topping the division with their 9-6 mark despite losing to the Rays here 7-5 last night by blowing a 5-1 lead. That makes tonight the rubber game of the series as the Red Sox won the series opener 1-0 in a good old fashioned pitchers’ duel.

The Rays are in their first season without their long-time manage Joe Maddon after he bolted to take over the Chicago Cubs, and despite being the winning MLB picks Wednesday, that marked just their second win at home at Tropicana Field this year. Luckily they are 5-2 on the road to leave them just one game under .500, but it has been a struggle for Tampa Bay offensively with Thursday’s outburst notwithstanding.


Odorizzi Fulfilling Potential
The Rays are being carried by their pitching right now for the most part, and Odorizzi has been a big part of that while starting to come into his own. The Rays have always been high on Odorizzi and he has actually had good peripheral numbers for a few years now, as evidenced by his 174 strikeouts in 168 innings last season vs. only 59 walks.

His problems have stemmed from inconsistency, and that has affected his mainstream numbers such as his 4.13 ERA and 11-13 record a year ago. However Odorizzi has begun 2015 with three straight Quality Start, and it he could remain that consistent he might just fulfill all that was expected of him when he was first called up to the majors in 2012 with the Kansas City Royals.

Odorizzi is 2-1 with a spiffy 1.74 ERA and 0.68 WHIP through his three starts with 19 strikeouts vs. five walks in 20.2 innings while allowing an opponents’ batting average of just .129. Granted he is just 1-2 with a 4.32 ERA in five career starts vs. the Red Sox, but that is due to two bad starts at Fenway Park in Boston.

He has faced the Red Sox twice here in Tampa and was sharp on both occasions, allowing only one hit in seven scoreless innings with seven strikeouts the last time he faced Boston here last season after allowing one run and four hits in six innings his previous outings vs. the Red Sox at “The Trop.”


Buchholz Loves Tampa Bay
Now, Buchholz is just 1-2 with an ugly 6.06 ERA and 1.65 WHIP, but that is entirely due to one atrocious start vs. the New York Yankees in the Bronx. Clay was just fine in his other two starts while allowing only two runs in 13 innings with a great ratio of 16 strikeouts vs. two walks, and his overall strikeout rate of 10.47 per nine innings is ranked 12th in the Major Leagues this young season.

More importantly Buchholz has always had a penchant for pitching well in this domed stadium, posting a career 1.95 ERA and 0.84 WHIP in 10 career starts at Tropicana Field covering 64.2 innings with 59 strikeouts vs. 14 walks and a .178 batting average allowed! The last tine Buchholz pitched here, he tossed a Complete Game three-hit shutout with six strikeouts and not a single walk last August.

Now he gets to face a Rays’ offense that is 23rd in the majors in runs scored with 3.87 per game and 20th in team batting average at .231, and furthermore the Rays are batting a disgusting .217 while averaging just 2.96 runs per game here at home even with Wednesday’s sudden fireworks.


Going ‘under’ in St. Petersburg
Finally the ‘over’ last night snapped a 4-0 ‘under’ run between these teams in the previous four head-to-head meetings in St. Petersburg, and the ‘under’ is also 7-3 in Buchholz’s 10 career starts here.

Look for more of the same tonight as Boston and Tampa Bay stay ‘under’ the total in St. Petersburg on Thursday.

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MLB Pick: Red Sox, Rays ‘under’ 7½ (-110)