MLB Pick: Total Value Play of the Day Saturday

LT Profits Sports Group

Saturday, June 14, 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 Saturday.

Do not look for much scoring Saturday in a game between two last-place teams when Edwin Jackson and the Chicago Cubs (27-38, 12-24 away) pay a visit to David Buchanan and the Philadelphia Phillies (28-37, 15-20 home) at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, PA at 3:05 ET.

The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 8½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -103.

The Cubs had a surprisingly successful 5-1 home stand last week, but they resumed their woes once they went back on the road this week, losing three out of four games at Pittsburgh. However, they did “improve” to 12-24 on the road by talking the series opener here in Philadelphia 2-1 in a low scoring affair last night as these offenses made a couple of mediocre pitchers in Jake Arrieta and Roberto Hernandez each look like the second coming of Cy Young!

One bit of consolation for the Cubs is that their win last night combined with a loss by the Arizona Diamondbacks means that Chicago no longer has the worst record in the National League, with Arizona taking over that dubious distinction. The Cubs trail first place Milwaukee by 11½ games in the National League Central.

The Phillies are also cellar dwellers in the National League East, although they are still a manageable 6½ games behind Atlanta and Washington, who are tied for first. However, it is probably a pipedream to consider Philadelphia a legitimate contender with a mostly veteran lineup that has left its best days well behind, as the Phillies are 11th in the National League in batting at .241, and average that drops to .227 here at home.

Furthermore, the Phils are batting just .228 vs. right-handed pitchers for the year regardless of the venue. That has put a lot of pressure on their starting pitchers, and with Cole Hamels starting the year on the Disabled List and Cliff Lee disabled currently, the starters have not been top-flight pitchers for the most part than can overcome not getting much run support.

That includes the young Buchanan, who managed to win his Major League debut 1-0, but who has pitcher poorly while losing his subsequent three starts. However, he now has a chance to match that first start vs. a Cubs’ offense that is 14th out of 15 National League teams with a .232 team batting average, an average that dips to a distressing .218 vs. right-handers overall and .211 vs. righties on the road!

This road trip has been typical of the Cubs’ year offensively with the team averaging 2.60 runs while batting .212 overall over the first five games.

With that said, the Cubs have actually gotten some good pitching this season and even Jackson has not been as bad as his 4-6 record, 4.70 ERA and 1.46 WHIP. Granted Jackson was very mediocre while allowing four runs on seven hits in six innings vs. the Pirates Monday, but he did have eight strikeouts vs. two walks in that outing and he does have 73 strikeouts in 74.2 innings for the season vs. 31 walks with only six home runs allowed in 13 starts.

That has led to a good 3.54 FIP and 3.66 xFIP for Jackson that are both running considerably ahead of his ERA, which is almost always a good sign and an indication of positive regression on the way. And facing a Philadelphia offense that has had great difficulty vs. right-handed pitching certainly does not hurt matters.

Therefore, just like last night, look for the offenses to continue to struggle in yet another ‘under’ between the Cubs and Phillies from Philadelphia on Saturday.

[gameodds]3/287591/?r-1=238-92-43-349-192/us[/gameodds]

MLB Pick: Cubs, Phillies ‘under’ 8½ (-103)