MLB Pick: Total Value Play of the Day Monday

LT Profits Sports Group

Monday, June 17, 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 Monday.

Do not look for many offensive fireworks Monday night when James Shields and the Kansas City Royals (33-34, 16-18 away) pay a visit to Carlos Carrasco and the Cleveland Indians (34-34, 20-13 home) in the opening game of a three-game series from Progressive Field in Cleveland, OH at 7:05 ET.

The posted total at Pinnacle Spots is 7½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at a positive +102.

The Royals got off to a good start this season, but they then slumped badly as an offense that showed so much promise last season started sputtering, leading to the hiring of George Brett as the new batting coach. They have now responded by winning 10 of their last 12 games, leaving them in third place in the American League Central and five games behind the first place Detroit Tigers.

However, although Kansas City has been winning games lately, the Royals have not really improved vs. right-handed pitchers, batting .244 and averaging 3.97 runs per nine innings against them over the last 10 games, which is not far off from the year-to-date numbers of .247 and 3.63 runs.

The pitching for the Royals has been stellar though as they now lead the American League with a 3.39 team ERA, keyed by a great bullpen that leads the entire Major Leagues with a 2.67 ERA after allowing only two runs in the last 34 innings. Furthermore, Kansas City has its ace starter Shields on the bump this evening, who has allowed two earned runs or less in eight of his last nine starts.

Obviously Shields deserves a decidedly better fate than his 2-6 record, as he has a 2.79 ERA and 1.11 WHIP with a .237 batting average allowed, with 90 strikeouts vs. 26 walks in an even 100 innings. While Shields’s lack of run support has adversely affected his record, it has also helped make the ‘under’ a lucrative 10-4 in all of his starts. He is also now facing a Cleveland offense that is batting .226 over the last 10 games while averaging 3.70 runs per game.

The Indians have won four of their last five games after taking two out of three from the Washington Nationals this past weekend, and they are hanging in second place one-half game ahead of the Royals and 4½ games behind the Tigers. Like Kansas City though, Cleveland has also relied on its pitching as of late and the Tribe bullpen has also excelled with a 1.91 ERA while allowing a .190 opponents’ batting average the last 10 games.

Now, Carrasco looks like the weakest link here given that he has allowed 13 earned runs and 17 hits while lasting only 7.2 innings in two starts. However, he was excellent at the AAA level in between his two Major League starts this year and he showed some glimpses of excellence even while going 8-9 in 21 starts with the Indians last year. Moreover, the Royals’ struggles help his cause and he does have that hot bullpen to support him.

In the end, look for a low scoring affair and a relatively safe ‘under’ on Monday.

[gameodds]3/236556/238-92-43-349-192/us[/gameodds]

MLB Pick: Royals, Indians ‘under’ 7½ (+102)