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 Sunday.
Two surprising pitchers could lead to an ‘under’ in the desert Sunday when Jake Arrieta and the Chicago Cubs (40-56, 20-34 away) pay a visit to fellow right-hander Josh Collmenter and the Arizona Diamondbacks (42-56, 19-31 home) in the final game of a three-game weekend series from Chase Field in Phoenix, AZ at 4:10 ET in a game available on WGN.
The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 7½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at a positive +102.
The Cubs are in last place in the National League Central mainly due to a lack of offense that has them with a .237 team batting average and averaging 3.89 runs per game. The have dropped the first two games of this series in Arizona to fall to 13 games out of first place, the only team in the division that is not in playoff contention. Through it all though, Chicago has gotten good pitching for the most part and that should continue today.
The two Arizona wins in this series have allowed the Diamondbacks to finally get out of last place in the National League West after holding that spot for the entire year, as they have now inched up to fourth place 1½ games ahead of the new cellar dwellers, the Colorado Rockies. The D-Backs problem has been winning at home, as even with the two wins the last two nights they remain just 19-31 in Arizona.
The former Oriole Arrieta began this season on the Disabled List with shoulder tightness, but he has been terrific since making his Cubs’ debut on May 3rd, going 5-1 in 13 starts with a 1.95 ERA, 1.01 WHIP and 85 strikeouts in 78.1 innings vs. 22 walks. When you also factor in that Arrieta has allowed only two home runs in those 78.1 innings, it leads to an excellent 2.14 FIP, 2.72 xFIP and 2.6 WAR, although his innings pitched are not enough to qualify to be ranked.
Furthermore Arrieta is showing no signs for regressing from the best form of his Major League career, as he is undefeated over his last eight starts (4-0) with a 1.36 ERA and .160 batting average allowed during this stretch! Moreover, the fact that this is his first appearance ever vs. the Diamondbacks should make him doubly tough to hit.
The righty is facing an Arizona offense batting .255 vs. right-handed pitchers over the last 10 games while averaging 3.88 runs per game against them, a full run lower than what the Snakes are averaging vs. left-handers (4.88 runs per game) while batting .283 against them over this same span.
Collmenter has had his ups and downs throughout his Arizona career that began when he was first called up in 2011, but he has become quite serviceable this season going 7-5 for a team that is 14 games under .500 with a 3.80 ERA and 1.27 WHIP, and the Diamondbacks are a commendable 10-6 as a team in the games that he has started.
The now 28-year-old is in very good current form having allowed exactly one run in three of his last four starts, most recently while allowing seven hits in seven innings with six strikeouts vs. the Miami Marlins in his last start, and Collmenter has done his best pitching here at home this year where he is 5-2 with a 3.13 ERA and a 1.08 WHIP.
He has also had fairly little trouble with the Cubs’ lineup over the years allowing just two runs in 14.1 career innings against them with 13 strikeouts vs. four walks, so look for both pitchers to do their parts in keeping this a low scoring affair in Phoenix on Sunday.
MLB Pick: Cubs, Diamondbacks ‘under’ 7½ (+102)