Each day LT Profits Sports seeks an overlay side that has a better chance of cashing than its spread, offering long term value. Here is their Side Value Play for Monday.
In a game where each starter has a deceptive ERA, the road favorite appears to have value when Drew Hutchison and the Toronto Blue Jays (37-34, 14-20 away) pay a visit to fellow right-hander Matt Andriese and the Tampa Bay Rays (40-31, 18-17 home) in the first game of a three-game series from Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, FL at 7:10 ET in a game available on Sun Sports.
The posted money line at Bet365 has Toronto as a small favorite for this contest at current odds of -110.
American League East Leaders
The Rays took two out of three from the Indians over the weekend while allowing exactly one run in each game, including in the 1-0 loss that snapped a four-game winning streak on Sunday! That great pitching is the main reason Tampa Bay continues to lead the American League East by one game over the second place New York Yankees, surpassing expectations to this point in their first season after longtime manager Joe Maddon bolted for the Cubs.
The Blue Jays conversely lost two out of three to the Baltimore Orioles, being the losing MLB picks Saturday and Sunday after taking the series opener on Friday. Sunday’s loss was particularly frustrating because the Blue Jays rallied from a 7-0 deficit to take a 9-7 lead, only to allow the Orioles to break a 9-9 tie with a four-run ninth inning in the 13-9 defeat.
Hutchison Dominant on “Good” Days
That means that Toronto will need a relatively long outing from Hutchison tonight in an attempt to give the bullpen a rest after yesterday’s starter Scott Copeland lasted just 1.1 innings, and we feel that Hutchison is capable of doing that notwithstanding his 5.33 ERA and 1.38 WHIP that do not seem to jive with his 6-1 record.
Now the first inclination when looking at those numbers is that the record is very fluky and that Hutchison should be a prime fade while his record converges to the ERA, but a closer inspection reveals good peripheral numbers and Hutchison has actually looked dominant in his “on” days while allowing two runs or less on five of his last eight starts. The ERA is skewed by allowing eight earned runs in 2.1 innings two starts ago, as he actually has a 3.84 xFIP and 1.0 WAR.
Hutchison pitched well the last time he faced the Rays, allowing one run on six hits in seven innings with seven strikeouts.
Andriese a Fill-In Starter
Now, we get that Tampa Bay is third in the Major Leagues with a 3.28 team ERA, and that Andriese has been a part of that while going 2-1 with a 3.26 ERA. However, he is not nearly as good as that ERA as he is a reliever by trade that is filling in for the disabled Jake Odorizzi. Andriese was actually scratched from his last start vs. the Washington Nationals Wednesday in favor of Steven Geltz, but he ended up getting the win with four innings of scoreless relief.
Andriese must now deal with the best hitting team in baseball so far this year as the Blue Jays lead the Major League in both runs scored with 5.54 per game and in team OPS at .786 while ranking third in batting at .271. He has faced Toronto three times this season, once as a starter and twice in relief, and has allowed a total of four earned runs on 10 hits plus one walk in only 8.2 innings.
Yes, the first place Rays are on a roll winning eight of their last 10 games, but the Blue Jays are 14-4 in their last 18 games in their own right and they have been quite reliable as favorites, going 9-2 the last 11 times they were cast in this role.
With this in mind, look for the underrated Hutchison and Toronto to prevail visiting Tampa Bay in St. Petersburg on Monday.
MLB Pick: Blue Jays -110