MLB Pick: Total Value Play of the Day Friday

LT Profits Sports Group

Friday, June 21, 2013 4:00 AM 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 Friday.

Expect a rather low scoring interleague affair on Friday night when Derek Holland and the Texas Rangers (41-32, 19-27 away) pay a visit to Tyler Lyons and the St. Louis Cardinals (47-26, 22-13 home) in the first game of a three-game weekend series from Busch Stadium in St. Louis, MO at 8:15 ET in a game televised nationally on MLB Network.

The posted total at Pinnacle Spots is 8 for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -102.

The Cardinals continue to own the best record in all of baseball after just taking three out of four games from the Chicago Cubs, although that still leaves them only 3½ games ahead of the second place Cincinnati Reds and four games ahead of the third place Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League Central. The Rangers meanwhile just took three out of four from the first place Athletics to pull to within one game of the American League West Division lead. 

The success of both of these teams has been fueled by pitching, as St. Louis leads not only the National League but the entire Major Leagues with a 3.22 team ERA, while Texas in fourth in the American League with a 3.77 ERA, and Friday’s starter Holland has become a very nice compliment to Rangers’ ace Yu Darvish.

Yes, Holland has lost his last three starts to fall to 5-4, but he still has a 3.30 ERA and 86 strikeouts in 90 innings against just 22 walks. Sabremetrically speaking, that has led to a sparkling 2.77 FIP that is actually slightly better than Darvish’s 2.83, and Holland was brilliant in his only career start vs. the Cardinals, tossing 8.1 scoreless innings and allowing only two hits.

Granted, the Cardinals lead the National League in batting (.277), OPS (.744) and in runs scored (365, 5.00 per game), but they have very severe lefty/righty splits. St. Louis has crushed right-handers this season, batting .284 while averaging 5.47 runs per nine innings against them, but the Cards have had their struggles vs. left-handers batting a scant .229 against them while averaging just 3.83 runs per nine innings, which should give the southpaw Holland a leg up here.

Now, fellow southpaw Lyons has been the weakest link in the St. Louis rotation, posting a 7.41 ERA over 17 innings in his last three starts after allowing just two runs and six hits in 14 innings in his first two Major League starts, but he is quite capable of regaining that fine early form vs. tonight’s interleague opponent that is not familiar with him.

You see, Lyons still has a very good 1.16 WHIP while showing some nice control for a youngster with just eight walks, and he has gotten nice downward movement on his pitches with a good 2.71 groundball-to-flyball ratio. He has been rather unlucky his last three starts with grounders finding holes in the infield, which is not expected to continue.

Finally, Lyons is catching a Texas lineup that is batting .238 vs. southpaws the last 10 games, and the Rangers are only averaging 3.10 runs per game overall in those games, so look for both pitchers to do enough to keep this contest ‘under’ on Friday.

[gameodds]3/236899/238-92-43-349-192/us[/gameodds]

MLB Pick: Rangers, Cardinals ‘under’ 8 (-102)