MLB Pick: Total Value Play of the Day Thursday

LT Profits Sports Group

Thursday, July 3, 2014 4:00 AM UTC

Thursday, Jul. 3, 2014 4:00 AM UTC

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.

There could be a rather surprising ‘under’ from the perspective of one of the starting pitchers Thursday night when the struggling Brandon McCarthy and the Arizona Diamondbacks (35-51, 20-21 away) pay a visit to surprising fellow right-hander Vance Worley and the Pittsburgh Pirates (44-40, 26-19 home) in the final game of a three-game 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 -109.

The Pirates have taken the first two games of this series with each contest staying ‘under’ the posted total, as Pittsburgh took the opening game on Tuesday 3-2 thanks to scoring three runs in the ninth inning, and then came back to win again 5-1 last night. That allowed the Bucs to overtake the Cincinnati Reds for third place in the National League Central as they have pulled to within six games of the division-leading Milwaukee Brewers.

The Diamondbacks meanwhile have been major disappointments as they currently own the worst record in all of baseball at 35-51. Oddly, Arizona’s biggest difficulty has been winning at home as they are an inexplicable 15-30 in Phoenix! However, the D-Backs have actually been a quite competitive 20-21 on the road. Also, for all you trend-lovers out there, the ‘under’ is 20-7 the last 27 times that the Diamondbacks have been underdogs.

But why should that ‘under’ pattern continue tonight with McCarthy on the hill, he of the 2-10 record and 5.11 ERA? Well for starters McCarthy is not nearly as bad as his record as he has become a favorite of Sabremetricians recently, and that confidence paid off in his last start vs. the San Diego Padres last Friday when his picked up his second win while allowing one run on six hits in seven innings with seven strikeouts and not a single walk.

That strikeout-to-walk ratio is just one of the reasons why McCarthy grades out so much better sabremetrically than he does on his mainstream stats, as he now has 87 strikeouts vs. just 18 walks for the season! He has also been pitching in bad luck surrendering a .338 BABIP and he has an excellent groundball ratio of 55.6 percent, all of which has helped contribute to his excellent 2.92 xFIP, giving McCarthy the biggest xFIP vs. ERA disparity in baseball!

It also helps that the Arizona bullpen has been better as of late with a collective 3.03 ERA and 1.04 WHIP over the last 10 games covering 32 innings.

This ‘under’ is a lot easier to like from Worley’s perspective as apparently some seasoning in the minor leagues has done him a world of good. After a poor season with the Minnesota Twins last season that saw Worley go 1-5 with a 7.21 ERA in 10 starts, he ended up in the Pittsburgh minor league system to begin this year.

However, he has looked like a godsend since being recalled by the Pirates as he is 2-0 in three starts with a 1.74 ERA, a tiny 0.97 WHIP and 12 strikeouts vs. just three walks. He improved to a perfect three for three in Quality Starts vs. the New York Mets last time out when he allowed just one run on a Lucas Duda home run on seven hits in seven innings.

So is Worley as great as he has looked since his recall? Well, honestly, we highly doubt it, but we do not doubt that he could fare well again tonight vs. an Arizona offense that is averaging a mere 2.80 runs per game over the last 10 games overall and that has scored three runs or less in six consecutive games, scoring two runs or less in five of those contests.

Add this all up and expect a third straight ‘under’ as this three-game series concludes in Pittsburgh on Thursday.

MLB Pick: Diamondbacks, Pirates ‘under’ 7½ (-109)

comment here