MLB Pick: Total Value Play of the Day Monday

LT Profits Sports Group

Monday, June 2, 2014 4:00 AM UTC

Monday, Jun. 2, 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 Monday.

It could be a relatively low scoring contest Monday night when John Lackey and the Boston Red Sox (27-29, 12-12 away) pay a visit to fellow right-hander Justin Masterson and the Cleveland Indians (27-30, 18-11 home) in the first game of a three-game series from Progressive Field in Cleveland, OH at 7:05 ET.

The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 8 for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -113.

You cannot be any streakier than the Boston Red Sox have been in their last 17 games as they enter this game on a seven-game win streak after completing a weekend sweep of the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday, a streak that has immediately followed a 10-game losing streak that was Boston’s longest in 20 years! The defending World Series Champion Red Sox are in fourth place in the American League East, but a manageable six game behind the Toronto Blue Jays.

Identically, the Indians are also in fourth place in their division, the American League Central, and also six games behind their division leader, although they may have a tougher task trying to catch the Detroit Tigers, who were one of the favorites to win the World Series before the season. This start has been a bit disappointing for a Cleveland team that made a surprising playoff run last season as a wild card under reigning Manager of the Year Terry Francona.

Lackey enters this contest in raging form for Boston as he has tossed 13.1 scoreless innings his last two starts and has allowed two runs or less in six of his last seven starts. This leaves Lackey at 6-3 with a 3.27 ERA and an excellent ratio of 68 strikeouts vs. 14 walks in 71.2 innings. Lackey also pitched very well in his only start vs. Cleveland this season, allowing just an unearned run and two hits with eight strikeouts in seven innings.

And this season did not come out of the blue for Lackey, who had Tommy John surgery three years ago and returned to his vintage form upon his return to the Major Leagues last year. Do not be fooled by his deceptive 10-13 record in 2013, as he had a 3.52 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 161 strikeouts vs. only 40 walks in 189.1 innings.

Lackey is facing a Cleveland offense that ranks in the middle of the pack in the American League in batting in eighth and is batting a nondescript .241 vs. right-handed pitchers over the last 10 games, and he has the support of an excellent Boston bullpen that leads the American League with a 2.74 pen ERA.

Masterson first came up to the Major League with the Red Sox before being traded to Cleveland, so he is familiar with much of the Boston lineup. However, he has been off of his form this year after winning 14 games and posting a 3.45 ERA and 1.20 WHIP in 193 innings last season with a nice 195 strikeouts in 193 innings against just 76 walks.

However, he has slipped to 2-4 with a lofty 5.21 ERA and 1.54 WHIP this year with 58 strikeouts but 33 walks in 67.1 innings. The good news is that he appeared to be back on track vs. the Chicago White Sox last Tuesday, but unfortunately he never got a chance to complete the deed as he was pulled after allowing one run on four hits in three innings due to a lengthy rain delay.

Masterson should be well rested as besides his last outing being cut short, he has also had an extra day off than usual taking this assignment on five days rest. That could help him continue to show the improvement that he displayed in those early innings vs. the White Sox last week, and the fact that his 3.96 xFIP is 1.25 runs less than his 5.21 ERA is a good sign that at least some positive regressions is coming.

He is facing a Boston lineup that is still batting a surprisingly low .243 overall this season despite the current winning streak, and he has the support of a Cleveland pen that is fourth in the American League with a 3.13 bullpen ERA.

Therefore, look for this game to slide ‘under’ the posted total in Cleveland on Monday.


MLB Pick: Red Sox, Indians ‘under’ 8 (-113)

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