MLB Pick: Total Value Play of the Day Friday

LT Profits Sports Group

Friday, July 4, 2014 4:00 AM UTC

Friday, Jul. 4, 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.

While there will be fireworks mostly everywhere this 4th of July, do not expect many on the field Friday when Roberto Hernandez and the Philadelphia Phillies (37-48, 19-21 away) pay a visit to fellow right-hander Gerrit Cole and the Pittsburgh Pirates (44-41, 26-20 home) in the opening game of a three-game holiday weekend series from PNC Park in Pittsburgh, PA at 5:05 ET in a game available on ROOT.

The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 7½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -105.

The Pirates had played a string of low-scoring games, in fact having seven straight games with a combined total of eight runs or less being scored, and they were on their way to an eighth straight trailing Arizona 3-2 entering the ninth inning Thursday before the Diamondbacks scored seven runs to account for the 10-2 final. Pittsburgh remains in third place in the National League Central 6½ games behind the first place Milwaukee Brewers.

The Phillies appeared to have turned things around for the good recently, but they now just as suddenly have resumed their losing ways as they have dropped six of their last seven games, snapping a six-game losing streak by edging the Miami Marlins on Thursday by a 5-4 score. Philadelphia remains in last place in the National League East a full 10 games behind the first place Atlanta Braves.

Pittsburgh’s starter Cole was roughed up in his first start off of the Disabled List, allowing five earned runs on seven hits plus three walks while laboring through 93 pitches in four innings vs. the New York Mets Saturday. The good news is that his velocity was fine and he did strike out four, so he should benefit from his first outing since going on the DL on June 4th due to shoulder fatigue.

Remember that Cole was the overall number one pick of the 2011 MLB Draft and he had a quick ascent to the Major Leagues less than two years later, being a heavy contributor to the Pirates ending their 21-year playoff drought last year when he went 10-7 but with a 3.22 ERA, 1.17 WHIP and a very good ratio of 100 strikeouts vs. 28 walks.

Even this season before landing on the DL he was 6-3 with a 3.64 ERA, so he should be just fine now that he has one return start under his belt. It also helps that he is facing a struggling Philadelphia lineup that is batting a mere .229 vs. right-handed pitchers over the last 10 games while averaging just 2.48 runs per nine innings against them during this time.

Hernandez, the pitcher formerly known as Fausto Carmona, does not have great numbers on the surface as he is 3-7 with a 4.26 ERA and 1.45 WHIP. His problems have stemmed from his 45 walks surrendered in 86.2 innings, with that rate of 4.67 walks per nine innings being the third worst in baseball among qualified starters. He has actually allowed only 81 hits though and has 64 strikeouts.

Thus, Hernandez could still be quite tough when he harnesses his control and to his credit he has had three starts in his last four outings where he allowed exactly two earned runs. And he is not exactly facing a scorching offense here either as the Pirates have had some difficulty plating runs, averaging only 3.38 of them over their last eight games.

Therefore, look for another low scoring game from Pittsburgh on Independence Day Friday.

MLB Pick: Phillies, Pirates ‘under’ 7½ (-105)

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