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 Wednesday.
Runs could be hard to come by Wednesday night when right-hander Mike Leake and the Cincinnati Reds (22-28, 9-17 away) pay a visit to southpaw ace Cole Hamels and the offensively challenged Philadelphia Phillies (20-33, 13-13 home) in the second game of a three-game series from Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, PA at 7:05 ET in a game available on FOX Sports - Ohio.
The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 6½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -103.
Nice Comeback vs. Cueto
The Phillies are in last place in the National League East and they had lost seven straight games prior to the series opener here last night. However Tuesday provided one of the few highlights for the Phillies this season as they fell behind 4-1 vs. Johnny Cueto but rallied late for the 5-4 victory, winning on a single by Darin Ruf in the ninth inning!
The Reds have not exactly been tearing things up themselves at 22-28 and fourth place in the National League Central, with only the team with the worst record in all of baseball the Milwaukee Brewers keeping them out of the division basement, but Cincinnati had appeared to turn things around by being the winning MLB picks in their three previous games vs. the National League East leading Washington Nationals before that bad loss last night.
Hamels Auditioning for Pennant Contender?
The Phillies are sending their ace Hamels to the bump and he has continued to pitch well while even posting a winning 5-4 record for a team that is 13 games below .500, and while Philadelphia is obviously going nowhere this year nor in the immediate years to come, Hamels certainly has personal incentive to continue to perform well as he could very well be auditioning for a pennant contender with the MLB trading deadline coming up next month.
And talent wise, Hamels remains one of the best southpaws in the National League as he has a 2.91 ERA, 1.09 WHIP and a nice ratio of 76 strikeouts vs. 25 walks in 74.1 innings. Just about the only blemish on Hamels’ stat line are the 10 home runs allowed, but he had done a much better job of keeping the ball in the yard by not allowing any homers in four consecutive starts covering 29.1 innings before allowing two solo shots for the only runs he allowed vs. Colorado Friday.
Now he gets to face a Cincinnati team that he has absolutely dominated in the past. And how do you define dominance? Well, how about going 9-0 lifetime vs. the Reds with a 1.51 ERA and 0.91 WHIP while yielding just a .170 batting average, with the Phillies as a team going 12-0 in those career starts! And you can make it 10-0 personally and a 13-0 record for the team if you include another Hamels win in a Complete Game five-hit shutout over Cincinnati in the 2010 NLDS.
Leake to Get Back on Track?
There is no reason to believe that Hamels will not continue to excel vs. the Reds here considering that his overall stats against the rest of the league have been as good as ever this year, but it is not a given that the perfect record will remain in tact for the simple reason that this is the worst Philadelphia offense he has had behind him in his career.
In fact, the Phillies rank dead last in the Major Leagues in scoring with 3.06 runs per game, in home runs with 29 and in team OPS at .637, while also ranking just 28th in batting average at .238! That is the kind of offense that can snap any pitcher’s slump, and Leake is in a bad one right now with a sickening 12.86 ERA and 2.50 WHIP while allowing 20 runs in his last three starts.
Leake is not nearly that bad though and he sat with a 2.36 ERA and six Quality Starts in his first seven outings immediately before this dry spell began, and he could just as easily return to that form here considering he tossed seven scoreless innings while allowing just three hits with seven strikeouts and not a single walk the last time he faced the Phillies.
Finally the ‘under’ is 18-7-6 in Hamels' last 31 home starts and 21-7-2 in his last 30 starts vs. the National League Central.
Look for Hamels to continue to pass his auditions with pennant contenders watching closely here and for Leake to re-discover his good form vs. possibly the worst offense in the league, resulting in a very low scoring affair when Cincinnati visits the City of Brotherly Love on Wednesday.
MLB Pick: Reds, Phillies ‘under’ 6½ (-103)