MLB Pick: Total Value Play of the Day Thursday

LT Profits Sports Group

Thursday, June 13, 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 Thursday.

Runs may be hard to come by in one of the getaway games on Thursday night when Matt Cain and the San Francisco Giants (33-31, 12-20 away) pay a visit to Charlie Morton and the Pittsburgh Pirates (39-26, 23-11 home) in the final game of a three-game series from PNC Park in Pittsburgh, PA at 7:05 ET.

The posted total at Pinnacle Spots is 7½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -113.

The Pirates have taken the first two games of this series while scoring a combined 20 runs, first winning 8-2 on Tuesday and then 12-8 on Wednesday, and they are now going for their first home series sweep of the Giants since 2008. They will attempt to do so with Morton making his first Major League start in a year following Tommy John surgery.

The World Champion Giants have been rather erratic while attempting to defend their title, as they are in third place in the National League West and just two games over .500, although they still trail the first place Arizona Diamondbacks by only three games. The problem has been that the starting pitching, which as been one of the strengths of the team for several years, has struggled with the starters having a collective 4.87 ERA.

Those struggles have included Cain, who after getting some Cy Young consideration last season and considered a candidate to win the award this year coming into the season is just 4-3 with a disappointing 5.09 ERA. There is some encouraging news though as the Giants have gone 6-2 as a team in Cain’s last eight starts after losing his first five outings this year, and he still has a good 1.19 WHIP and 75 strikeouts against 27 walks in 81.1 innings.

Most importantly, Cain has indeed started to resemble his old self again while allowing two runs or less in five of his last seven starts, including a tough-luck no-decision vs. the Diamondbacks in his last start on Friday where he allowed one run and only four hits in seven innings. He has had good success in nine career starts vs. the Pirates, going 2-2 but with a 3.10 ERA and 1.07 WHIP while striking out 48 Pittsburgh batters compared to 15 walks in 61 innings.

The Pirates are off to a quick start for the third straight year as they are 13 games over .500 and only three games behind the team with the best record in baseball, the St. Louis Cardinals. In fact, it is unfortunate that Pittsburgh is in the National League Central as the Pirates actually have the fourth best record in the Major Leagues! Besides the two teams ahead of them in the division, the Cardinals and Cincinnati Reds, the only other team with a better record is Boston.

If the Pirates are going to avoid another late season collapse like the last two years, Morton could be a major reason as he could held stabilize the starting staff if he can post anything close to the 3.83 ERA he had in his first and only full season with Pittsburgh in 2011.

Morton threw 96 pitches in his last minor league start Saturday while allowing two runs and six hits, but most importantly he felt no discomfort afterwards after being stretched out. He is catching a San Francisco lineup batting just .220 vs. right-handed pitchers over the last 10 games while averaging a scant 2.25 runs per nine innings against them during that time.

Finally the excellent Pittsburgh bullpen is ranked second in the National League and fourth in the majors with a 2.92 ERA so go ‘under’ in the Steel City on Thursday.

[gameodds]3/236307/238-92-43-349-192/us[/gameodds]

MLB Pick: Giants, Pirates ‘under’ 7½ (-113)