MLB Pick: Underdog Value Play Wednesday

LT Profits Sports Group

Wednesday, July 2, 2014 4:00 AM GMT

Each day the LT Profits Sports Group seeks out an MLB total that does not add up and offers the most value that day. Here is their Total Value Play of the Day for Wednesday.

There could be a major upset in store in our nation’s capital Wednesday evening young southpaw Tyler Matzek and the Colorado Rockies (36-48, 16-29 away) pay a visit to veteran right-hander Doug Fister and the Washington Nationals (45-38, 25-17 home) in the final game of a three-game series from Nationals Park in Washington, DC at 6:05 ET.

The posted money line at Bet365 has Colorado as a large road underdog for this contest at current odds of +185.

The Nationals have been hot lately with their latest winning streak now reaching four games after taking the first two games of this series, first winning 7-3 on Monday and then 7-1 last night, and even though Washington is still in second place in the National League East one-half game behind the Atlanta Braves, it has now moved up to be second choice on the National League Pennant Future Odds at +410, trailing only the Los Angeles Dodgers!

Meanwhile the Rockies are heading in the opposite direction as they are just 2-13 in their last 15 games, dropping them to fourth place in the National League West and just 1½ games ahead of the last place Arizona Diamondbacks while trailing the division-leading San Francisco Giants by 11½ games. With that being said, this pitching matchup tonight gives the Rockies a chance to score a nice win at a nice price.

The main reason why the Nationals are getting so much love on the National League Futures is because of their pitching as they lead the entire Major Leagues with a 3.04 team ERA. However, there is some concern with tonight’s starter Fister despite his 6-2 record, 2.83 ERA and 1.05 WHIP.

You see, Fister’s strikeout rate is way down this year as he has only 37 of them in 63.2 innings, grading out to 5.23 strikeouts per nine innings after he averaged 6.86 strikeouts per nine last season and 7.63 the year before while with the Detroit Tigers. Did the Tigers know something when they were so willing to trade him?

Now granted, Fister also has just six walks all year, so he is almost always around the strike zone, but is it really wise for a pitcher that is averaging just 88.1 MPH on his fastball this season to pitch to contact that often? Perhaps worst of all, even Fister’s groundball rate is down to 47.3 percent, and while that is not terrible, he was at 54.3 percent last year with Detroit and 51.0 percent the year before.

Apparently a dip in velocity this year has made it easier for opposing batters to get some lift on the ball, and a by product of that has been eight home runs allowed in just 63.2 innings, which is more than one home run per game (1.13). A couple or reasons why his common stats are so good is because he has a low BABIP allowed of .260 and a high stand rate of 81.6 percent, both of which figure to stabilize in the near future.

As for Matzek, the Rockies had high hopes for him when they made him the 11th overall pick of the 2009 draft, but he has been plagued by control problems. Still, who would not kill for a 6-foot-tall left-handed pitcher that hits 96 MPH with his fastball and has a plus curveball? Matzek is good enough to dominate when he has his control, and such was the case in his last start vs. the Milwaukee Brewers when he allowed one run on five hits without a walk in six innings.

As long as Matzek continues to keep his walks in check, he could be an undervalued pitcher in the short-term and he appears to give Colorado good value vs. a suspect Fister on Wednesday.

MLB Pick: Rockies +185