MLB Pick: Total Value Play of the Day Monday

LT Profits Sports Group

Monday, April 28, 2014 4:00 AM GMT

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 Monday.

Runs could be at a premium in a great pitching duel in national TV Monday night when Sonny Gray and the Oakland Athletics (15-10, 9-4 away) pay a visit to Yu Darvish and the Texas Rangers (15-10, 9-4 home) at Globe Life Park in Arlington, TX at 8:05 ET on ESPN Monday Night Baseball.

The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 7½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -102.

These two teams were the consensus co-favorites to win the American League West prior to the season and already at this early stage of the year, they are tied for first place in the division with the Los Angeles Angels 3½ games back in third place. Texas has survived ranking just 18th in the Major Leagues in team ERA at 3.96, but that is obviously not a concern with their ace stopper Darvish on the bump.

The Athletics have also has some adversity, namely injuries to what was their projected starting rotation and struggles by their closers undermining the terrific work of their long relievers and set-up men. Through it all, Oakland is still fourth in the majors in team ERA at 2.95 and fifth in runs scored with 4.92 per contest, which is a combination that will get you a lot of wins.

Darvish has the natural stuff to be a Cy Young Award winner, although he is coming off of his worst start of the season vs. these Athletics in Oakland last Monday. Even there though, he was still credited with a Quality Start, making him a perfect four for four in that category this season, despite allowing three runs on eight hits with six strikeouts and an uncharacteristic four walks in six innings.

Yu has now had a full week off since that start though and look for him to make the necessary adjustments facing the same team for the second consecutive start as most great pitchers do. And make no mistake Darvish is one of the best pitchers in baseball.

Do not be fooled by his 13-9 record last year as the Rangers gave him no run support. He had the peripheral stats of a 20-game winner with a 2.83 ERA, 1.07 WHIP, a .194 batting average allowed and a Major League leading 277 strikeouts in 209.2 innings vs. 80 walks. Well, he is at it again this year despite that last shaky outing as he is 1-0 with a 1.61 ERA and 1.11 WHIP through four starts with 29 strikeouts in 28 innings.

The world got introduced to Sonny Gray when he had two great starts vs. the Detroit Tigers in the ALDS last season, but he was known around the league well before that as he was called up three months earlier, two years after being selected in the first round of the 2011 MLB Draft, making his Major League debut last July 10th. He then proceeded to go 5-3 but with a 2.67 ERA and 1.11 WHIP with 67 strikeouts vs. 20 walks in 64 innings.

That fine season and post-season prompted the A’s to name the youngster their ace this season with just 10 Major League starts under his belt, and he has not disappointed while going a perfect five for five in Quality Starts. He has gone 3-1 with a 2.25 ERA and 31 strikeouts in 32 innings. The one knock on Gray so far has been his 1.34 WHIP, but much of that has to do with surrendering a .312 BABIP, which is almost certain to normalize eventually.

Gray is also making his second straight start vs. Texas after an unlucky 3-0 loss Wednesday where he allowed three runs on only five hits with eight strikeouts in seven innings. Thus, look for a good old fashioned pitchers’ duel and go ‘under’ in Arlington on ESPN Monday Night Baseball.

[gameodds]3/262939/?r-1=238-92-43-349-192/us[/gameodds]

MLB Pick: Athletics, Rangers ‘under’ 7½ (-102)