MLB Pick: Total Value Play of the Day Thursday

LT Profits Sports Group

Thursday, April 17, 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 Thursday.

Runs may be hard to come by in the Steel City Thursday night when Yovani Gallardo and the Milwaukee Brewers (11-4, 6-0 away) pay a visit to Edinson Volquez and the Pittsburgh Pirates (7-8, 4-2 home) at PNC Park in Pittsburgh, PA at 7:05 ET in a game televised regionally on MLB Network.

The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 7 for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -123.

The Pirates must be glad to be returning home after losing five of their last six games of a nine-game road trip, first getting swept in a three-game series by these Brewers and then losing two put of three to the Reds in Cincinnati. The Pirates’ pitching let them down in the Queen City, but a lot of that had to do with balls flying out of the launching pad that is Great American Ball Park. That Pittsburgh pitching should stabilize now back at home.

The Brewers were probably the biggest surprises in baseball with their 10-2 start, but they did then lose the first two games to the St. Louis Cardinals at home before salvaging the final game of that series. That still leaves Milwaukee at 11-4 and in first place in the National League Central two games ahead of those Cardinals and four games ahead of these Pirates in third.

The ‘under’ is a combined 5-0 in all starts made by tonight’s starting pitchers so far this year, and that is not a coincidence. Gallardo has looked like every bit the ace of the Milwaukee staff thus far, as he is 2-0 with a tiny 0.96 ERA and 1.07 WHIP with 13 strikeouts vs. just three walks, with the Brewers as a team going 3-0 in his starts. His last start at PNC Park was also a memorable one last year when he tossed seven scoreless innings allowing five hits.

And that start was not an anomaly for Gallardo, as even in a year when the Pirates revived their franchise, he continued his mastery of Pittsburgh by allowing two runs or less in five of the six starts he made against them in 2013! That improved Gallardo to 11-4 with a 2.61 ERA vs. the Pirates lifetime while limiting Pittsburgh batters to a .216 batting average with 134 strikeouts in 124 innings against 49 walks.

He now gets to face a struggling Pittsburgh offense averaging only 3.80 runs per game overall this young season while ranking dead last in the National League with a .223 team batting average.

Volquez has made a nice impression thus far in his first year with the Pirates, once again showing the promise he displayed early in his career with the Cincinnati Reds. Volquez has made two starts and one scoreless two-inning relief appearance, and overall he is 2-0 with a 1.29 ERA and a minuscule 0.79 WHIP while yielding an opponents’ batting average of just .160!

His last outing was against these Brewers, who he held to two runs (one earned) and four hits in 6.1 innings. That marked the fourth time in Volquez’s last five starts vs. Milwaukee that he has allowed three runs or less, and he is facing a Milwaukee offense coming back down to earth, batting .190 over the last five games to drop the Brewers’ team average for the season to .248.

Furthermore, Ryan Braun missed the final game of the St. Louis series with a thumb injury and is questionable to return for the Brewers tonight.

Add this all up and look for the ‘under’ record for both of these starting pitchers to remain perfect at the end of play in Pittsburgh on Thursday.

[gameodds]3/262174/?r-1=238-92-43-349-192/us[/gameodds]

MLB Pick: Brewers, Pirates ‘under’ 7 (-123)