MLB Pick: Underdog Value Play Wednesday

LT Profits Sports Group

Wednesday, June 26, 2013 4:00 AM UTC

Wednesday, Jun. 26, 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 Wednesday.

The underdogs could hold value in a matchup of two pitchers each with a high ERA Wednesday night when Scott Kazmir and those Cleveland Indians (39-37, 15-22 away) pay a visit to Jason Hammel and the Baltimore Orioles (43-35, 21-16 home) in the third game of a four-game series from Camden Yards in Baltimore, MD at 7:05 ET.

The posted money line at Pinnacle Sports has Cleveland as a road underdog for this contest at current odds of +129.

These teams have exchanged come-from-behind wins in the first two games of this series, with the Indians erasing an early 2-0 deficit to take the series opener 3-2 on Monday and the Orioles overcoming a 3-0 deficit to win 6-3 last night thanks to a five-run seventh inning, an inning in which Chris Davis tied the game with his Major League leading 28th home run of the year and Alexi Casilla won it with his first, a three-run blast off of Justin Masterson.

These teams are both in second place, although in the Orioles’ case, they are in a virtual tie with the New York Yankees in the American League East at 2½ games behind the Boston Red Sox. The Indians have sole possession of second place in the American League Central, surprisingly only 3½ games behind the Detroit Tigers, who were prohibitive favorites to win the division coming into the season.

Kazmir was highly touted when he first came up and he was even a two-time All-Star with the Tampa Bay Rays, but he seemingly lost his command out of the blue and was eventually released. Furthermore, although Kazmir is still just 29 years old, he was out of organized baseball last season.

The Indians took a chance on him and he actually resembled the Kazmir of old early this season while being one of the feel-good stories in baseball. However, command issues set in again and he is now 4-4 with a bloated 5.37 ERA and 1.55 WHIP. The good news is that Kazmir does have 62 strikeouts in 62 innings and he seemed to turn things around in his last start vs. the Minnesota Twins, allowing just one run and five hits in seven innings with seven strikeouts and no walks.

That marked just the second time this season that Kazmir did not walk a batter with the other time coming in his second start of the year, and if that outing was not a mirage, he should have success vs. a Baltimore lineup that is largely unfamiliar with him as this is a totally different Orioles’ team than the last time he faced them in 2010.while with the Los Angeles Angels.

Just like his Baltimore team, Hammel was a pleasant surprise in his first season with the Orioles last season as he posted a 3.43 ERA and 1.24 WHIP while allowing a .234 batting average, going 8-6 in 20 starts. Now, Hammel is 7-4 this year but the truth is he has not pitched that well while recording a 5.40 ERA and 1.44 WHIP and yielding a lofty .281 batting average.

Also, unlike Kazmir, Hammel has not really given a glimmer of hope that he is ready to turn his season around as he has just one Quality Start in his last four outings. He did not fare well in his only start against the Indians last season either, allowing four earned runs on five hits plus an unacceptable five walks in six innings with just four strikeouts.

These starters have very similar numbers when looking at the season-to-date, but their more recent starts suggest that Kazmir may have more upside, giving Cleveland good long-term value as a nice underdog on Wednesday.


MLB Pick: Indians +129

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