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.
Runs could be hard to come by in the Steel City Saturday when southpaw Brett Anderson and the Colorado Rockies (40-56, 16-31 away) pay a visit to right-hander Charlie Morton and the Pittsburgh Pirates (50-46, 30-20 home) in the second game of a three-game weekend series from PNC Park in Pittsburgh, PA at 7:05 ET in a game available on ROOT.
The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 7½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -105.
After making their first playoff appearance in 21 years last season and even posting their first winning year in that span, the Pittsburgh Pirates are starting to make a move in the National League Central this year as they have pulled to within 3½ games of the first place Milwaukee Brewers after beating the Rockies 4-2 in the series opener here last night for their 10th win in their last 12 home games.
The Rockies meanwhile have the worst road record in baseball at 16-31, and that is a key reason why they have now dropped to last place in the National League West with the worst record in the National league overall at 40-56, one-half game behind the team that had been in last place virtually the entire season until Friday, the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Perhaps the biggest reason for the Colorado struggles on the road is the incredible drop-off in its offense, as the Rockies are batting a whopping .315 as a team in the altitude of home overall but just .238 on the road! That should make life easier for the Pittsburgh starter Morton, who really does not need much help as he is having a good year despite his 5-9 record.
Morton is now two years removed from Tommy John surgery, and like many before him at this point following that procedure, he may be on the verge of pitching the best ball of his career. The record aside, Morton has a 3.32 ERA and 1.19 WHIP and he is eighth in the Major Leagues in groundball rate at 54.8 percent. He has never been a big strikeout guy, but even his 7.54 strikeouts per nine innings this season are a career high.
Morton limited the Rockies to one run on six hits in seven innings here at PNC Park the last time he faced them, and he is now dealing with a Colorado lineup batting .240 and averaging just 3.61 runs per nine innings vs. right-handed pitchers on the road this season.
The southpaw Anderson was highly touted when he first came up to the majors and he had some nice seasons with the Oakland Athletics, but his first season in Colorado has been limited to just four starts due to a fractured finger on his left throwing hand. He missed three months with the injury before finally making his return vs. the Minnesota Twins last Sunday when he was hit hard for five earned runs in five innings.
That return start was at Coors Field though and Anderson has fared well in his two road starts at sea level posting a 3.00 ERA and 0.89 WHIP, and he also figures to improve in his second start back with one outing now under his belt. He is facing a Pittsburgh offense that is averaging only 3.75 runs per nine innings vs. left-handed pitchers this season while batting .247 against them overall, and that batting average has plummeted to .207 vs. southpaws the last 10 games.
Therefore, look for each pitcher to do his part in keeping this contest ‘under’ in Pittsburgh on Saturday.
MLB Pick: Rockies, Pirates ‘under’ 7½ (-105)