MLB Pick: Total Value Play of the Day Tuesday

LT Profits Sports Group

Tuesday, October 1, 2013 4:00 AM UTC

Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013 4:00 AM UTC

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 Tuesday.

While the atmosphere may be electric, do not look for many fireworks on the scoreboard when playoff baseball returns to the Steel City Tuesday night when Johnny Cueto and the Cincinnati Reds pay a visit to Francisco Liriano and the Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League Wild Card Playoff Game from PNC Park in Pittsburgh, PA at 8:07 ET in a game televised nationally on TBS.

The posted total at Pinnacle Spots is 6½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -120.

Not only is this the Pirates’ first appearance in the Playoffs since 1992, but it is also their first winning season since that year, a season that ended with a three-game sweep of these Reds in Cincinnati to help assure that Pittsburgh would be home for the one-game winner-take-all elimination for the right to advance to the NLDS vs. the St. Louis Cardinals beginning on Thursday.

The Reds are not exact entering the post-season with momentum as they lost their final five games of the regular season, with the sweep by the Pirates contributing to that, and Cincinnati has had trouble vs. left-handed pitchers all year, which is a big concern vs. Liriano. However, the Pirates were equally as bad vs. right-handers this season as the Reds were vs. southpaws, and remember that Cueto is the Cincinnati ace when he is fully healthy.

Liriano can probably be considered the Pittsburgh ace at this point and he deserves to take this start despite not being nearly as consistent during the month of September as he was earlier in the season. At the end of the day though, Liriano finished at 16-8 with a 3.02 ERA while allowing opposing batters to hit just .224 off of him, and he had a nice ratio of 163 strikeouts vs. 63 walks in 161 innings.

Liriano is also a logical choice because the southpaw can be nasty on left-handed batters, which could help neutralize Joey Votto as well as Jay Bruce and Shin-Soo Choo, and because of that lefty-laden lineup, the Reds hit just .235 vs. southpaws for the season while averaging only 3.67 runs per nine innings against them, and that average dipped to .221 over the last 10 games.

Now Cueto was only able to make 11 starts this year due to an extended stay on the Disabled List with issues with his right lat, but he still managed to allow three runs or less in 10 of those starts while posting a 2.82 ERA and 1.05 WHIP.

Perhaps most importantly, Cueto has looked great in his two starts since finally coming off the DL on September 16th, first tossing five scoreless innings vs. the Houston Astros that night and then allowing just one earned run in seven innings vs. the New York Mets in his last start September 23rd, meaning he is now pitching on seven full days of rest vs. a Pittsburgh lineup that hit .237 vs. right-handers for the season.

Also note that even if Cueto is a bit short on stamina right now, the Cincinnati bullpen has been terrific as of late with a 1.42 ERA and 0.95 WHIP in the last 10 games, so look for a tight, low-scoring pitching duel in the National League Wild Card Playoff on Tuesday.


MLB Pick: Reds, Pirates ‘under’ 6½ (-120)

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