MLB Pick: Underdog Value Play Tuesday

LT Profits Sports Group

Tuesday, May 13, 2014 4:00 AM UTC

Tuesday, May. 13, 2014 4:00 AM UTC

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.

One of the more underrated pitchers in the National League could give the road underdogs value Tuesday night when Andrew Cashner and those San Diego Padres (18-21, 6-10 away) pay a visit to Mike Leake and the Cincinnati Reds (17-19, 10-8 home) at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, OH at 7:10 ET.

The posted money line at Bet365 has San Diego as a small underdog for this contest at current odds of +104.

The Padres have actually done well to be just three games under .500 considering that they are last in the Major Leagues in scoring at 2.97 runs per game and also last in team on-base percentage at .278, but to be fair they have been dealing with injuries for much of the season. The walking wounded are starting to return however as so is the offense as the Padres scored 24 runs while winning the last three games vs. the Miami Marlins this weekend.

The Reds are off to a disappointing start at 17-19, although luckily that still leaves them in third place in the National League Central and a very manageable six games behind the surprising first place Milwaukee Brewers. Cincinnati was part of history last season when it was one of three Central Division teams to make the playoffs, the first time one division has ever sent three teams to the MLB post-season, and there is still plenty of time for another run this year.

However, the Reds’ slow start in 2014 could very well continue vs. Cashner tonight, who just might be one of the best pitchers in baseball that many people have never heard of. You see, Cashner has lost four straight decisions after losing to the Kansas City Royals in his last outing and he is now 2-5 on the season. However, the Padres have given him a grand total of 2.00 runs per game of support and they have not scored a single run in any of his last three starts!

The fact of the matter is that Cashner has a 2.86 ERA and a nice ratio of 41 strikeouts vs. 16 walks in 50.1 innings, and he has the ninth highest groundball rate in the Major Leagues at 56.2 percent, all of which helps discount the notion that he has benefitted from pitching at Petco Park. In fact, going back to last season, Cashner now has a 2.03 ERA and 12 Quality Starts in his last 15 outings, but has just a 4-9 record to show for it.

That may be ready to change now however that the San Diego lineup is finally back in tact, as the Padres have lifted their team batting average to .285 over the last five games while averaging 5.11 runs per nine innings over those contests, and they pounded out 36 hits in the last three wins vs. the Marlins. Furthermore, there is a chance that one final missing piece to the lineup in Carlos Quentin could be activated in time to make his season debut tonight.

Leake is coming off of his best Major League season as he went 14-7 with a 3.37 ERA last season, but he is just 2-3 this year although his 3.40 ERA is in line with last year and he does have a good 1.09 WHIP. However, Leake has just a 4.21 FIP which is hurt by his low strikeout rate of 5.19 per nine innings.

Leake has also had a lack of run support, although not quite as bad a Cashner with the Reds giving him 3.29 runs per game. The problem tonight though is that he may not even get that many runs given Cashner’s form, and it is Cashner that should be the beneficiary of an improved offense.

With that in mind, back San Diego as a small underdog in Cincinnati on Tuesday.


MLB Pick: Padres +104

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