MLB Pick: Total Value Play of the Day Sunday

LT Profits Sports Group

Sunday, June 30, 2013 4:00 AM GMT

Each day the LT Profits Sports Group seeks out a total that simply does not add up and therefore offers the most value that day. Here is their Total Value Play of the Day for Sunday.

Runs could be hard to come by in an interleague battle of second place teams on Sunday when Jake Westbrook and the St. Louis Cardinals (49-31, 27-15 away) pay a visit to Tom Milone and the Oakland Athletics (47-35, 25-13 home) in the final game of a three-game weekend series from O.co Coliseum in Oakland, CA at 4:05 ET.

The posted total at Pinnacle Spots is 8½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at a positive +104.

The Cardinals had the best record in all of baseball for the longest time this year, but when they lost the series opener 6-1 to the Athletics on Friday, it dropped them to their current position of second place in the National League Central at one game behind the Pittsburgh Pirates. Those two teams maintained their positions by then both winning on Saturday, with St. Louis prevailing easily here in Oakland 7-1 behind Cy Young candidate Adam Wainwright.

It is unfortunate that the Cardinals and Pirates are in the same division as they still have the two best records in the Major Leagues, but there is obviously still a lot of baseball to be played yet. The St. Louis starting pitching had been taking a beating as of late before Wainwright did what aces do by stabilizing things yesterday, and the Cardinals are still third in the Major Leagues with a 3.27 team ERA.

As great as Wainwright has been this season, it is actually Sunday’s starter Westbrook that leads St. Louis starters with a 2.21 ERA, but he does not qualify for any league honors because a stint on the Disabled List leaves him with only nine starts and 57 innings. Still, when Westbrook was touched up for four earned runs in six innings by the Houston Astros in his last start Tuesday, it marked the first time in those nine starts he allowed more than three earned runs!

Also, while the St. Louis bullpen is often regarded as the weakest link on the entire team, that unit has actually been red-hot lately with a 1.34 ERA and 0.89 WHIP over the last 10 games while holding the opposition to a .174 batting average, so the Cardinals should be in good hands should Westbrook be in need of relief. It also helps all St. Louis pitchers that the Athletics are batting just .237 overall here at home this year.

Oakland starter Milone does not have eye-popping numbers overall as he is 6-7 with a 4.06 ERA and 1.24 WHIP, although he does have excellent command with 76 strikeouts vs. 24 walks in 99.2 innings. What Milone has been able to always do though since coming up to the A’s is pitch to the dimensions of this ballpark, where his excellent control works greatly in his favor as he wants teams to make contact in this spacious stadium.

As a result, while Milone is just 3-3 at home, he has a 2.82 ERA and 1.19 WHIP in Oakland with 35 strikeouts against 12 walks in 44.2 innings. The southpaw is facing the Cardinals for the first time ever, which should work to his advantage, and he is facing a St. Louis lineup that has struggled with left-handers, batting only .232 against them for the entire season as opposed to a whopping .282 average vs. right-handed pitchers.

Finally, Oakland is ranked fifth in the American League with a 3.31 bullpen ERA, so look for the pitching to set the tempo from start to finish in an ‘under’ on Sunday.

[gameodds]3/237761/?r-1=238-92-43-349-192/us[/gameodds]

MLB Pick: Cardinals, Athletics ‘under’ 8½ (+104)