MLB Pick: Total Value Play of the Day Monday

LT Profits Sports Group

Monday, August 19, 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.

There could be a higher scoring game than expected on national television Monday night when reigning American League Cy Young Award winner David Price and the Tampa Bay Rays (70-52, 29-29 away) pay a visit to the 14-3 Chris Tillman and the Baltimore Orioles (67-56, 35-26 home) in the opening game of an important three-game series from Camden Yards in Baltimore, MD at 7:05 ET in a game televised live nationally on MLB Network.

The posted total at Pinnacle Spots is 7½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘over’ set at -116.

This is a big series in terms of both the American League East standings and the wild card chase. The Rays just took two out of three games from the Toronto Blue Jays over the weekend to pull to within one game of the Boston Red Sox in the division, and they lead the wild card chase by one-half game over the Oakland Athletics, who currently own the final wild card position.

The Orioles are in third place in the division at 4½ games behind the Red Sox and 3½ games behind these second place Rays, but just as importantly they are three games behind the Athletics for the last playoff spot. Now, this series opener might look like an expected pitching duel at just an initial glance, but there is reason to believe that Tillman may not hold up his end of the deal.

Yes, the Orioles are 13-2 as a team in the last 15 games that Tillman has started with the second loss coming last time out vs. the Arizona Diamondbacks. However, Sabremetricians will be quick to point out that Tillman’s peripherals do not usually coincide with those of a pitcher that is 14-3, and in point of fact neither do most of his common numbers as he has a decent but not great 3.70 ERA and 1.29 WHIP and a very ordinary .249 batting average allowed.

His saber numbers really point to imminent regression though as Tillman has a bloated 4.70 FIP and a 4.09 xFIP, leaving him with an average WAR of 1.0. In a nutshell, Tillman is an average pitcher that is nowhere near as good as his record, and he has also had his difficulties with the Rays over the years, going 2-5 in 10 career starts against them with a 4.77 ERA. That includes three starts this year over which Tillman is 1-2 with a 4.76 ERA.

Now Price remains one of the premier pitchers in the game and he has been outstanding since coming off of the Disabled List allowing two run or less in seven out of nine starts. However, with the Rays batting .274 vs. right-handed pitchers over the last 10 games and expected to get to the overrated Tillman, Price may not need to give up that many runs for this game to go ‘over’ this relatively low total.

Besides, Price did allow four earned runs in seven innings vs. the Seattle Mariners in his last start, he allowed five earned runs in six innings in his only start vs. the Orioles this season albeit back in April, and he is facing a Baltimore offense that leads the Major Leagues in home runs with 165 while also ranking fourth in runs scored (4.79 per game), fifth in batting average (.265) and third in team OPS (.755).

Finally the Tampa Bay bullpen has a terrible 4.75 ERA over the last 10 games while the Baltimore pen has a mediocre 3.62 ERA in that same span, so go ‘over’ the total at Camden Yards on Monday.

[gameodds]3/241605/?r-1=238-92-43-349-192/us[/gameodds]

MLB Pick: Rays, Orioles ‘over’ 7½ (-116)