MLB Pick: Underdog Value Play Tuesday

LT Profits Sports Group

Tuesday, June 4, 2013 4:00 AM UTC

Tuesday, Jun. 4, 2013 4:00 AM UTC

Each day LT Profits Sports seeks an overlay underdog that has a better chance of winning than its odds, offering long term value. Here is their Underdog Value Play for Tuesday.

The underdogs may have the edge Tuesday night in a battle of two formerly great pitchers that have had their difficulties as of late when Josh Johnson and the Toronto Blue Jays (24-33, 10-17 away) pay a visit to Tim Lincecum and the San Francisco Giants (30-27, 20-10 home) in the first game of a brief two-game series from AT&T Park in San Francisco, CA at 10:15 ET.

The posted money line at Pinnacle Sports has Toronto as a road underdog for this contest at current odds of +109.

The Blue Jays are playing their eighth consecutive interleague game, as after splitting four games with the Atlanta Braves last week while the entire Major Leagues were involved in interleague play, the Blue Jays continued facing National League competition by losing two out of three to the San Diego Padres over the weekend, winning the series finale 7-4 after losing the first two games.

That leaves a Toronto team that was actually favored to win the American League East Division before the season in last place, 10½ games behind the division leading Boston Red Sox. The Blue Jays were supposed to have an improved pitching staff this season with Johnson being part of the improvement, but he made just four starts in April before landing on the Disabled List with tightness in his right triceps muscle, and this will be his first start back.

Johnson bore little resemblance to the pitcher that was so dominant while pitching for the then Florida Marlins the first month of this season, but he was no doubt bothered by the triceps in on his throwing arm while going 0-1 with a 6.86 ERA and 1.88 WHIP in those four starts covering 19.2 innings. The Blue Jays are hoping to see the Johnson of old now that he has been deemed healthy, which would be a major boost to the Toronto staff.

Remember that we are talking about a pitcher here with a career 3.23 ERA and 851 strikeouts against 317 walks over 936 Major League innings, and he had an 11-to-4 strikeout-to-walk ratio across 11.2 innings in his minor league rehab starts. If he is really back to good health, keep in mind that he has allowed three runs or less in all six of his career starts vs. the Giants.

Had this pitching matchup taken place two years ago, it would have been regarded as a marquee pitching matchup. Unfortunately, unlike Johnson, Lincecum does not have any injury excuse to fall back on to explain his decline since then. Lincecum has just one Quality Start vs. the Atlanta Braves in his last six starts overall and that is his only win in the last five starts including going 0-3 with an ugly 8.27 ERA and 1.78 WHIP over his last three outings.

The two-time Cy Young Award winner had a noticeable dip in velocity last season while going 10-15 with a 5.18 ERA and 1.47 WHIP, finishing the year in the bullpen where he actually did a fine job for the Giants on their World Championship run. Unfortunately his velocity is about the same as last season this year and he is 3-5 with a 5.12 ERA and 1.48 WHIP overall, numbers that have only gotten worse lately.

It seems that Johnson is more capable of rediscovering his old form coming back from injury tonight, so he gives the Blue Jays value as underdogs on Tuesday.


MLB Pick: Blue Jays +109

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