MLB Pick: Underdog Value Play Wednesday

LT Profits Sports Group

Wednesday, May 28, 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 Wednesday.

There is a nice chance to grab one of the best pitchers in the American League at an underdog price Wednesday night when right-hander Anibal Sanchez and those Detroit Tigers (29-19, 18-8 away) pay a visit to southpaw Scott Kazmir and the Oakland Athletics (31-21, 13-11 home) at O.co Coliseum in Oakland, CA at 10:05 ET.

The posted money line at Pinnacle Sports has Detroit as a road underdog for this contest at current odds of +110.

This series is a rematch of the ALDS from each of the past two seasons with the Tigers winning both series in the maximum five games. The way things are going right now though, the clubs could be on a collision course to meet in the ALCS this time around as the teams currently own the two best records in the American League.

The Tigers now own the best record by just eight percentage points over the A’s by virtue of their 6-5 win last night after Oakland had shellacked Detroit 10-0 in the series opener on Memorial Day Monday. The Tigers evened the series despite reigning Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer not having his best stuff, allowing all five runs on eight hits in six innings.

On a staff that included the Cy Young winner last year as well as a previous two-time Cy Young winner in Justin Verlander, it is actually tonight’s Sanchez that is the reigning American League ERA Champion at 2.57 in 2013 and he led the Detroit staff in FIP last year at 2.39 while tying for second in the majors in that key sabremetric stat. And Sanchez appears to be on his way to another fine year as he has looked good in two starts since coming off the DL.

Sanchez spent nearly a month on the Disabled List with a lacerated finger before making his return on May 18th vs. the Boston Red Sox, when he allowed just one earned run on five hits in five innings, and he was then stretched out to seven innings in his second start back Friday vs. the Texas Rangers, allowing only two runs on five hits with five strikeouts and not a single walk while being the only Tiger pitcher to win a game in that four-game series.

That leaves Sanchez at 2-2 in seven starts, but with a 2.83 ERA and 1.11 WHIP with 32 strikeouts vs. 14 walks in 35 innings while not yet allowing a home run. Add that all up and Sanchez has a 2.42 FIP this year, although he has not pitched enough innings to qualify for any pitching rankings. He is now facing an Oakland lineup batting a mere .211 overall over the last 10 games, hitting an identical .211 vs. right-handers and left-handers during this time.

Now granted Kazmir has been a nice story this season and is a Comeback Player of the Year Candidate at 5-2 with a 2.56 ERA. Still, that ERA is running ahead of Kazmir’s 3.05 FIP and especially his 3.68 xFIP, as he is not striking out as many batters as he used to back in his prime currently sitting at 6.79 strikeouts per nine innings. Also, he did not fare well in his last start vs. the heavy-hitting Tigers allowing four earned runs on seven hits plus two walks in five innings.

Then again the Tigers can do that to any pitcher as they lead the American League with their .275 team batting average, with only the Colorado Rockies having a higher average in the majors, except Detroit has done it without the benefit of playing at high altitude.

You should win a lot of games when you combine an offense like that with a stud pitcher like Sanchez, and the underdog price here certainly seems to give Detroit good betting value at Oakland on Wednesday.

[gameodds]3/287790/?r-1=238-92-43-349-192/us[/gameodds]

MLB Pick: Tigers +110