Each day the LT Profits Sports Group seeks out a total that simply does not add up and therefore offers the most value that day. Here is their Total Value Play of the Day for Thursday.
Despite neither starting pitcher having a good ERA, look for the weak bats vs. each respective arm orientation combined with a pitchers’ stadium to produce an ‘under’ Thursday night when southpaw C.C. Sabathia and the New York Yankees (25-22, 13-12 away) pay a visit to right-hander Kendall Graveman and the Oakland Athletics (17-32, 6-16 home) for the opening game of a four-game series from O.co Coliseum in Oakland, CA at 10:05 ET in a game available on YES.
The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 8 for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -121.
Swept Defending American League Champions
The Yankees had lost six straight games and 10 of their last 11 when they began a series with the defending American League Champion Kansas City Royals, who entered the series opener on Memorial Day with the best record in the American League, but the Yankees proceeded to sweep the three-game series at home in the Bronx before making the long flight out to the West Coast after that series finale yesterday afternoon.
The Athletics have become accustomed to making the playoffs or at the very least being in the playoff hunt late in recent seasons, but that does not appear to be the case this year with Oakland currently sitting 15 games blow .500 and in last place in the American League West, 13½ games behind first place Houston after being the losing MLB picks in the last two games vs. the Detroit Tigers after winning that series opener on Monday.
Athletics Putrid vs. Southpaws
Now, a play on the ‘under’ is not the first thing that would come to mind here when simply glancing at the ERA of these two starters. Sabathia is 2-6 for the Yankees with a lofty 5.47 ERA after getting lit up for six earned runs on seven hits in just 2.1 innings by the Tampa Bay Rays in his last out. The good news for the big left-hander though is that he is facing an Oakland lineup that has been abysmal vs. southpaws, most recently getting shut out by David Price Tuesday.
Yes, Price is an elite southpaw that can do that to anyone, but that game continued a pattern that has seen the A’s struggle vs. all left-handers, batting a pathetic .215 while averaging a measly 2.88 runs per nine innings against them overall this season!
And besides, Sabathia had actually been pitching better than his ERA while pitching in some bad luck prior to that last bad outing, as he had allowed three earned runs or less in three of his previous four starts and he would have more than two wins this year if not for the Yankees totaling three runs or less in his first six starts. They finally gave him some run support after that, which is why C.C. had won two straight starts before that stinker on Saturday vs. Texas.
Graveman Off of Great Outing
Similarly, Graveman has a ghastly 6.04 ERA despite managing to post a 2-2 record. However, he should benefit from facing a Yankees’ lineup that is batting only .230 vs. right-handed pitchers on the road this year, and the fact that this is his first ever appearance against the Bronx Bombers in his career should work to his advantage.
Besides, the rookie has actually had a few bright moments for Oakland this season with none brighter than his last start vs. Tampa Bay on Saturday in his first start back after being demoted to the minor leagues for about four weeks. Apparently that extra seasoning worked some wonders as Graveman tossed six scoreless innings while allowing just three hits with six strikeouts.
Graveman had posted a 1.85 ERA in his four Triple-A starts, so it could be that he is now ready to fulfill his potential and actually stick in the big league rotation this go-around.
Now, O.co Coliseum has long been considered one of if not the most pitcher-friendly stadiums in the American League, as it has more room in foul territory than any other park in the Major Leagues and the ball does not carry well here at night. And lately, it has not mattered where the A’s are playing with the ‘under’ going 6-1-1 in the last eight Oakland games overall. Similarly, the ‘under’ is 6-2 in the last eight Yankees’ road games.
Look for those patterns to continue despite the overall ERA of each of the starting pitchers, so go ‘under’ when the New York Yankees visit Oakland and its spacious stadium on Thursday.
MLB Pick: Yankees, Athletics ‘under’ 8 (-121)