MLB Pick: Total Value Play of the Day Thursday

LT Profits Sports Group

Thursday, July 10, 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 should be hard to come by Thursday in a matchup of two very hot pitchers when Jose Quintana and the Chicago White Sox (44-48, 20-27 away) pay a visit to fellow southpaw Jon Lester and the Boston Red Sox (40-51, 22-26 home) in the final game of a four-game series from Fenway Park in Boston, MA at 4:05 ET in a game televised regionally on MLB Network.

The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 8 for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -109.

The White Sox have taken two of the first three games of this series, winning the first two games 4-0 and 8-3 respectively before Boston came back to win 5-4 last night. Thus, Chicago continues to exceed expectations in the American League Central at just four games under .500, and although the White Sox remain in fourth place, they are only a reasonable 8½ games behind the first place Detroit Tigers.

The defending World Champion Red Sox meanwhile have been huge disappointments this season going from first to worst as of now as they trail the first place Baltimore Orioles by 9½ games in the American :League East. In fact, the East looks totally upside down right now relative to preseason predictions as the two teams expected to compete for the division title, the Tampa Bay Rays and these Red Sox, are currently the bottom two teams!

Now the side on this contest could be a tough call with both starting pitchers so scorching-hot, but no matter who wins we are anticipating a very low scoring affair. For the second straight year, Quintana’s record does not reflect just how well he has pitched this season as he is 5-7 despite a 3.20 ERA and 100 strikeouts vs. 32 walks in 112.1 innings.

That is not unlike last season when Quintana became the King of the No-Decision while getting no run support from a White Sox offense that was among the worst in baseball, as he finished 9-7 over 33 starts despite a 3.51 ERA and 164 strikeouts vs. just 56 walks.

Quintana has gone 2-0 over his last four starts, but then again it is hard to take a loss when you are not allowing any runs and by rights he should be 4-0 in those outings. You see, he has tossed 14.2 scoreless innings over his last two outings and he allowed a grand total of three runs on just 19 hits in 28.2 innings over the four starts combined with 31 strikeouts vs. seven walks!

Furthermore Quintana’s two career starts vs. the Red Sox have both come in the last two years and he has yet to allow a single run against Boston while allowing eight hits in 14.1 innings. And those efforts were vs. better hitting Boston offenses than this one, which ranks 27th out of 30 Major League teams in runs scored at 3.76 per game and 24th in batting at .243.

Not to be outdone however, Lester has actually been one of the better pitchers in the American League this season despite his modest 9-7 record, as he has a 2.73 ERA, 1.15 WHIP and 122 strikeouts vs. only 29 walks in 122 innings. The fact that he is averaging one strikeout per inning again like he did in his glory years is reassuring after his strikeout rate had dropped the last few years.

And like Quintana, Lester is also in raging current form as he has not allowed an earned run in 16 innings his last two starts and he has allowed a grand total of four earned runs on 26 hits in 37.2 innings over his last five outings while never allowing more than two earned runs in anyy game, with 27 strikeouts vs. six walks over this span.

Lester pitched well in his only appearance vs. the White Sox so far this year allowing one run on seven hits in eight innings with nine strikeouts and not a single walk, and while the Chicago offense is improved this season compared to last year, it is still batting only .227 vs. left-handed pitchers on the road where it averages 3.58 runs per game against them.

Add this all up and the ‘under’ seems like the logical call in Boston on Thursday.

MLB Pick: White Sox, Red Sox ‘under’ 8 (-109)