MLB Pick: Total Value Play of the Day Friday

LT Profits Sports Group

Friday, June 20, 2014 4:00 AM UTC

Friday, Jun. 20, 2014 4:00 AM UTC

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 Friday.

A rather surprisingly good pitching matchup could lead to an ‘under’ Friday night when Rick Porcello and the Detroit Tigers (37-32, 18-13 away) pay a visit to fellow right-hander Corey Kluber and the Cleveland Indians (37-36, 23-12 home) in the first game of a weekend three-game series from Progressive Field in Cleveland, OH at 7:05 ET in a game televised regionally on MLB Network.

The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 8½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -115.

The Tigers were the prohibitive favorites to win the American League Central prior to the season, but they have now dropped to second place in the division one-half game behind surging Kansas City after just losing three out of four games at home to those Royals, although they did avoid the sweep by salvaging the final game of the series 2-1 Thursday afternoon thanks to seven strong innings from Anibal Sanchez.

The Indians made a surprising run to a wild card spot last year but were off to a disappointing start this season. However, they have picked the pace up as of late to move to one game over the .500 mark and within 2½ games of the first place Royals and within two games of a wild card position. Cleveland also enters this game with the best home record in all of baseball at 23-12 after taking two out of three games here from the Los Angeles Angels.

Now, Kluber actually gave an indication if his ability last season when he amassed a 2.7 WAR, but his 147.1 innings pitched were not enough to qualify for the rankings. Well, he qualifies this season and do not be fooled by his 6-4 record as he has 108 strikeouts vs. 26 walks in 96.2 innings with just seven home runs allowed in 15 starts, and he has a good groundball rate for a strikeout pitcher of 47.6 percent and has pitched around yielding a high .336 BABIP.

So while Kluber is not yet a household name, he ranks eighth in the Major Leagues in FIP (2.69), sixth in xFIP (2.85) and sixth in WAR (2.6), and the scary part is that he only figures to get better as his BABIP stabilizes! And you do not need to convince the Tigers of what he is capable of as he is working on a streak of four straight Quality Starts vs. Detroit since last season.

He could also be catching the Tigers at the perfect time as they have scored a total of seven runs in the last three games and are batting a modest .245 vs. right-handers over the last five games while averaging just 2.89 runs per nine innings against them in this time.

Porcello has been more of a surprise as there was talk of him losing his spot in the starting rotation entering this season. Instead he has now allowed three runs or less in nine of his 13 starts overall and has pitched better than a 4.03 ERA, as he has had two awful outings over which he allowed 12 earned runs in 10.1 innings to skew that number.

The reality is that those ugly outings are not occurring with the same regularity they did in recent years and Porcello comes off of yet another solid outing vs. the Twins Sunday where he allowed three runs on just five hits in seven innings. Also, the Indians are one team that Porcello has always handled well as he is currently on a streak of six straight Quality Starts against them with four of those outings coming last season, and he is 8-3 with a 3.59 ERA lifetime vs. the Tribe.

Therefore, expect both starting pitchers to be on top of their games and for this contest to stay ‘under’ in Cleveland on Friday.

MLB Pick: Tigers, Indians ‘under’ 8½ (-115)

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