MLB Pick: Total Value Play of the Day Tuesday

LT Profits Sports Group

Tuesday, July 1, 2014 4:00 AM UTC

Tuesday, Jul. 1, 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 Tuesday.

After going ‘under’ in the series opener last night, expect a similarly low scoring game Tuesday night when James Shields and the Kansas City Royals (43-39, 22-17 away) pay a visit to fellow right-hander Ricky Nolasco and the Minnesota Twins (37-44, 19-18 home) in the second game of a three-game series from Target Field in Minneapolis, MN at 8:10 ET.

The posted total at Bet365 is 8 for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -125.

The Royals took the series opener 6-1 here last night to keep pace with the Detroit Tigers in the American League Central as second place Kansas City sits 3½ games out on this July 1st. The Royals actually overtook the Tigers for the division lead after winning the first three games of a head-to-head four-game series in mid-June, but they fell back soon afterwards before showing some resiliency by continuing to hang in.

The Twins meanwhile bring up the rear in the division thanks to a slumping offense that is currently averaging 4.15 runs per game overall after peaking at 4.80 earlier. Still, being seven games under .500 is an improvement for a team that finished an identical 66-96 each of the last two seasons, and although Minnesota is in last place, it only trails first-place Detroit by a reasonable nine games.

We have felt for several seasons that Shields was one of the more underappreciated pitchers in baseball because he has always pitched extremely well but rarely had the record to reflect it as he often received no run support. Well, Shield is 8-3 this season despite not pitching quite as well as in past seasons so perhaps the baseball gods are trying to even things up. He comes off of a mediocre outing vs. the Dodgers where he allowed four runs and seven hits in seven innings.

Still, it is not as if Shields is having a bad season as he still owns a good enough 3.79 ERA and 1.29 WHIP and he still has a good ratio of 87 strikeouts vs. 24 walks. He is also facing a Twins’ team that he has dominated in recent years, allowing three runs or less in eight of his last nine starts against them including allowing one run in his first start vs. the Twins this year.

And keep in mind that the aforementioned slumping Minnesota offense is batting just .213 vs. right-handed pitchers over the last 10 games while averaging a mere 2.91 runs per nine innings against them during this time, lowering the Twins’ batting average vs. right-handers for the season to just .237. Also do not forget that Shields has the support of one of the better bullpens in the league.

Now, Nolasco has been a disappointment as the Twins’ supposed ace at just 4-6 with a 5.74 ERA and 1.59 WHIP and he comes off of another bad outing vs. the Angels were he allowed six runs on 11 hits in six innings. However, Nolasco does have a good ratio of 69 strikeouts vs. 27 walks and he has been pitching in bad luck, yielding an abnormally high .355 BABIP.

Perhaps most significantly he has been a much better pitcher here at home for the Twins, going 2-2 but with a 3.57 ERA and 1.14 WHIP in six starts at Target Field covering 40.1 innings. Also, as great as the Kansas City bullpen is on paper, the Minnesota bullpen has been even hotter while posting a 1.78 ERA and 0.99 WHIP over the last 10 games covering 30 innings.

Therefore, expect a lower scoring game than this total suggests and look for the second ‘under’ in as many nights in Minnesota on Tuesday.

MLB Pick: Royals, Twins ‘under’ 8 (-125)

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