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.
The return of one of the best pitchers in the National League could help key an ‘under’ Monday night when right-hander Ryan Vogelsong and the San Francisco Giants (54-44, 26-19 away) pay a visit to returning stud southpaw Cliff Lee and those Philadelphia Phillies (43-55, 19-29 home) in the first game of a four-game weekend series from Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, PA at 7:05 ET.
The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 7 for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at a positive +102.
The Giants are back in a virtual tie with the Los Angeles Dodgers atop the National League West by virtue of their 3-2 loss to the Miami Marlins yesterday combined with the Dodgers winning in St. Louis. San Francisco once had a sizable lead in the division and even held the best record in baseball for a large chunk of the early season before hitting a major slide, but the Giants have bounced back decently as the loss Sunday snapped a three-game win streak.
The Phillies meanwhile are in last place in the National League East and 11 games out of first place, but at least the return of Lee tonight combined with Cole Hamels does give them one of the best front two starters in the Major Leagues. That also puts Philadelphia in a conundrum, as the Phils may opt to unload one or both of their stud starters before the trading deadline unless they make up some ground in the upcoming weeks.
Lee has always had some of the best command in all of baseball, and while he had an inauspicious 2014 debut when he was roughed up for eight runs in five innings by the Texas Rangers on Opening Day, he then looked like the vintage Lee afterwards with eight Quality Starts in his next nine outings, leaving him at a deceptive 4-4 with a 3.18 ERA and his customarily sensational ratio of 61 strikeouts vs. just nine walks in 68 innings.
However, even though he allowed only two runs in 6.2 innings in his last start on May 18th vs. the Cincinnati Reds, he was then diagnosed with a strained flexor tendon in his left elbow and has not pitched in the majors since. And with the speculation that the Phillies may be looking to trade him, Lee could be inspired to give a good performance in what may be an audition for a pennant contender, which is probably the only type of team he would waive his no-trade clause for.
Lee has been terrific in his last four starts vs. San Francisco, allowing a grand total of five runs on 25 hits in 34 innings with two scoreless performances including one lasting 10 innings, unbelievably with 27 strikeouts and not a single walk in any of those four outings! He is also now facing a Giant lineup batting a mere .214 vs. left-handed pitchers over the last 10 games while averaging a paltry 2.41 runs per nine innings against them in that span.
However, Lee may need to be almost perfect in his comeback to get a win because the Giants’ starter Vogelsong has been hot in his own right. No, Vogelsong does not have eye-popping number at only 5-7 with a 3.86 ERA and 1.28 WHIP, but he is pitching his best baseball of the season right now as he has allowed three runs or less in four straight starts with an excellent ratio of 23 strikeouts vs. one measly walk in 24.2 innings during this hot streak.
And there is no reason why Vogelsong cannot remain hot here vs. a Philadelphia offense batting just .232 vs. right-handed pitchers the whole year while averaging 3.63 runs per nine innings against them. He is also facing a Phillies’ lineup that has probably never faced him, as he has not faced Philadelphia since way back in 2004.
Therefore, expect a relative scarcity of runs from both sides in Philadelphia on Monday.
MLB Pick: Giants, Phillies ‘under’ 7 (+102)