MLB Pick: Strasburg faces Rockies in Colorado

LT Profits Sports Group

Wednesday, July 23, 2014 1:47 PM GMT

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 Wednesday.

 

Do not be surprised if there is an upset in the altitude Wednesday when right-hander Stephen Strasburg and the Washington Nationals (55-43, 25-23 away) pay a visit to southpaw Jorge De La Rosa and the Colorado Rockies (40-60, 24-27 home) in the final game of a three-game series from Coors Field in Denver, CO at 3:10 ET in a game available on MASN.

The posted money line at Pinnacle Sports has Colorado as a decided home underdog for this contest at current odds of +146.

First vs. Worst
This is now a first vs. worst matchup as the Nationals have opened up a two-game lead over the Atlanta Braves in the National League East by winning the first two games of this series while scoring 14 runs in two games, winning the series opener 7-2 behind Doug Fister and then coming back to win 7-4 Tuesday as the bullpen bailed starter Jordan Zimmermann out of a mediocre performance, shutting down the Rockies late allowing the Nats to come back.

The Rockies meanwhile have been prime fades as of late as they have now lost seven straight games to drop to last place in the National League West at 16 games behind the first place San Francisco Giants. Colorado also now owns the worst record in the National League at 40-60, and is tied with the Texas Rangers of the American League for the worst record in the entire majors.

Strasburg Never Catches Up to Sabres
So you would think we have an MLB pick on the Nationals in a cakewalk here right? Well, you’d better think again! Strasburg has always been a pitcher whose sabremetric numbers run ahead of his mainstream numbers, but the oddity in his case is that the numbers never seen to converge as expected. If that happened one time, it would be considered an anomaly as pitchers almost always regress to their sabres, but in Strasburg’s case, it is an annual occurrence!

And this year is no exception as Strasburg has a superb ratio of 158 strikeouts vs. 27 walks in 132 innings with a reasonable 14 home runs allowed in 21 starts and a good groundball rate for a strikeouts pitcher of 45.3 percent, all contributing to a 2.83 FIP, 2.49 xFIP and 2.9 WAR. And yet, he is just 7-7 with a 3.55 ERA, and he has just two Quality Starts in his last six outings.

As bad as the Rockies have been playing lately, they are still batting a whopping .313 vs. right-handed pitchers at Coors this season while averaging 6.31 runs per nine innings against them, and they have recorded two double-digit hit totals even while losing the first two games of this home stand. Thus, Strasburg could be very vulnerable here at this big price, especially if the altitude affects him at all.

De La Rosa Likes Altitude
Meanwhile De La Rosa has probably been the Rockies’ best pitcher this season going 10-6 for a team that is 20 games below .500, and Colorado is 12-7 in all the games that he has started. De La Rose also enters this contest in excellent form having allowed a grand total of four runs and 13 hits in 18 innings in his last three starts after limiting the Pittsburgh Pirates to one run and four hits in his last start on Friday.

But what sets De La Rosa apart from other starting pitchers is that he has actually pitched well here in Denver this year, going 6-2 with a 3.49 ERA and 1.22 WHIP over nine starts covering 56.2 innings, with the team going 7-2 in those starts. He also pitched well the last time he faced the Nationals here in the altitude last season, allowing just two runs on seven hits in six innings.

Granted Washington has hit left-handers well this year at .276 overall, but that average has dipped to a more modest .259 over the last 10 games.

The Price is Right
Add this all up and the last-place Rockies actually appear to offer nice value vs. the first-place Nationals at this home underdog price in Colorado on Wednesday.

MLB Pick: Rockies +146