MLB Pick: Total Value Play of the Day Friday

LT Profits Sports Group

Friday, July 12, 2013 4:00 AM UTC

Friday, Jul. 12, 2013 4:00 AM UTC

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.

There could be a somewhat surprising pitching duel Friday night when Bruce Chen and the Kansas City Royals (43-46, 21-24 away) pay a visit to Corey Kluber and the Cleveland Indians (48-44, 27-19 home) in the first game of a weekend three-game series from Progressive Field in Cleveland, OH at 7:05 ET, a series that leads right into the All-Star Break.

The posted total at Pinnacle Spots is 8½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -105.

The Indians simple refuse to go away in the American League Central race, as they are in second place and only 2½ games behind the Detroit Tigers, who were expected to run away with things before the season, after taking two out of three from the Toronto Blue Jays, beating R.A. Dickey 4-2 in the series finale on Thursday afternoon.

Winning that series from the Blue Jays was important because it showed that the Indians did not get down on themselves after losing three out of four games to those Tigers here at home last weekend when the Tribe had a chance to make a statement. One encouraging sign to come out of that Tiger series was the performance of tonight’s starter Kluber, who got back on track after two sub-par performances.

Kluber may not be a household name nationally, but he had allowed three earned runs or less in 11 of his first 13 games this season before getting touched up for seven runs (six earned) on 11 hits in 4.2 innings by the Baltimore Orioles on June 27th and then following that up by allowing four earned runs, albeit on only four hits, in 5.1 innings vs. these Royals on July 2nd.

Kluber managed to right the ship vs. probably the best offense in the American League though, limiting the potent Tigers to two runs on five hits with an impressive 10 strikeouts in 6.1 innings on Sunday in the only Cleveland victory of that series.

That leaves Kluber 6-5 with a 4.23 ERA overall, but he has an excellent ratio of 86 strikeouts vs. 19 walks in 87.1 innings, and believe it or not he is actually ninth in the Major Leagues among pitchers with at least 80 innings pitched with an xFIP of 3.04! He also pitched well the first time he faced the Royals this year allowing two runs in seven innings with six strikeouts and not a single walk, so we will forgive his July 2nd outing against them in lieu of Sunday’s nice start.

The Royals are coming off of a four-game split vs. the New York Yankees, although they are probably disappointed as they lost on Wednesday and Thursday after winning the first two games of the series. Kansas City is now turning to the southpaw veteran Chen, who was considered the ace of the Royals’ staff a couple of years ago but is now making his first start of the year after 19 relief appearances, taking the rotation spot of an ineffective Luis Mendoza.

Then again Chen seems like a logical choice to fill that rotation spot. After all, he is a veteran of 203 Major League starts and he earned this opportunity by pitching well out of the pen this year, going 3-0 with a 2.41 ERA over 33.2 innings. It was Chen that took over for the struggling Mendoza on Sunday vs. the Oakland Athletics, tossing 3.1 effective innings, and his first start comes vs. a Cleveland offense batting just .237 vs. left-handed pitchers at home this season.

Look for Chen to prove serviceable in his first start of 2013 and for Kluber to return to the fine form he had early in the year following his very good outing vs. the Tigers, resulting in an ‘under’ on Friday.


MLB Pick: Royals, Indians ‘under’ 8½ (-105)

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