MLB Pick: Underdog Value Play Tuesday

LT Profits Sports Group

Tuesday, April 15, 2014 4:00 AM GMT

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

The hot home team could offer value as an underdog Tuesday night when Brandon Morrow and the Toronto Blue Jays (7-6, 4-3 away) pay a visit to Phil Hughes and the Minnesota Twins (6-6, 3-3 home) at Target Field in Minneapolis, MN at 8:10 ET.

The posted money line at Pinnacle Sports has Minnesota as a home underdog for this contest at current odds of +111.

This is an old American League East pitching matchup as Hughes is quite familiar with the Blue Jays’ lineup from his days with the New York Yankees, and he pitched reasonable well against Toronto in four starts last season, allowing exactly two earned runs three times and only three earned runs on the other occasion. He was mostly disappointing vs. the rest of the league though, and the Twins took a chance by signing the free agent in December.

The Blue Jays underperformed as preseason favorites to win the American League East last season as their starting pitching did not perform nearly as well as expected. They are off to a better start this year though, in fact tied with the Yankees atop the East at 7-6 in the early going. The starting pitchers have a cumulative 3.63 ERA thus far, but unfortunately Morrow has not been part of that success.

The Twins come off of a three-game sweep of the Kansas City Royals over the weekend that leaves Minnesota at 6-6 and in third place in the American League Central, one game behind the Tigers, who are prohibitive favorites to win the division and who are already in first place at this early stage.

Hughes was once an All-Star for the Yankees when he went 18-8 in 2010, but he never did adjust to the new Yankee Stadium where the ball carries much better than in the old stadium, and he thus went downhill in the three seasons after that culminating with his 4-14 season and 5.19 ERA last year. However, Hughes should better appreciate the more spacious Target Field and he is still only 27-years old, making him an interesting gamble.

He also pitched a bit better than his stat line when he last pitched vs. the Oakland Athletics last Wednesday when he allowed a total of four runs on five hits plus three walks in five innings. That is because he allowed all four runs in the first inning, but then followed that up by tossing four scoreless innings while allowing just two baserunners after that.

Morrow had a promising start to his career, but he made just 10 starts in an injury shortened season last year and he still does not seem like his old self through two starts this year as he is 1-1 but with a 5.73 ERA. The highlight of his season so far was his nine strikeouts in six innings last time out, but that was vs. the worst offense in baseball in the Houston Astros. Now, he faces a Minnesota offense that scored 21 runs in the three-game sweep of the Royals.

It is also significant that Morrow’s xFIP has been on the decline the last two years, as it went over 4.00 to 4.03 in 2012 and was then 4.49 in the injury-shortened season last year. The biggest cause of that has been the rather sharp decline in his strikeout rate, from an excellent 10.19 per nine innings in 2011 all the way down to 7.80 in 2012 to 6.96 last year. While that is still good, the slippage is a good indication of a decrease in his velocity.

With all of this in mind, the Twins appear to offer nice value as home underdogs in Minnesota Tuesday.

[gameodds]3/261932/?r-1=238-92-43-349-192/us[/gameodds]

MLB Pick: Twins +111