MLB Picks: Daily MLB Total Plays Friday

LT Profits Sports Group

Friday, May 3, 2013 4:00 AM GMT

The LT Profits Sports Group continue their Daily MLB Total Plays series where they take a look at several totals each day where the numbers posted by the sportsbooks simply don’t add up.

We went 1-1 with some bad luck on Thursday. We appeared to be on our way to a winner with the Rays vs. Royals ‘under’, but that game was postponed with the Royals leading 1-0 in the fourth inning for No Action. Then, we lost the Marlins vs. Phillies ‘under’ on the Phillies’ final at-bat in the eighth inning where they scored three runs to turn a 4-2 game into a 7-2 final.

And now we move on to Friday.

New York Mets at Atlanta Braves (7:35 ET)

The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 7 for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -104.

The Braves began this season looking like the best team in baseball, but they are just 5-10 since a 12-1 start, although Atlanta does maintain a 2½-game lead over the second place Washington Nationals in the National League East after splitting a four-game series with the Nationals that ended with a 3-1 loss on Thursday.

The Braves are looking to get back on track with southpaw Mike Minor on the hill, whose season has mirrored that of his team. Minor was terrific over his first three starts this season, as he allowed a grand total of five runs and 23 baserunners in 25 innings. However, he then suddenly allowed six runs on six hits plus two walks in 6.2 innings vs. the Detroit Tigers on Sunday.

We do expect Minor to rebound well tonight however. First of all, he is facing a struggling Mets’ lineup that had scored three runs or less in seven out of nine games before busting out for seven runs vs. the lowly Miami Marlins on Thursday, and that is still batting just .234 overall and .236 vs. left-handed pitchers for the season.

Secondly, Minor was brilliant the last time he faced the Mets last season, tossing 6.1 scoreless innings while allowing only three hits and not walking a single batter.

The Mets are starting right-hander Shaun Marcum, who made his belated New York debut vs. the Philadelphia Phillies last Saturday after beginning the year on the Disabled List with a neck injury. He allowed three runs in four innings in that game, but is now eligible to improve with a start under his belt.

Marcum has pitched very well in three career starts vs. the Braves, which all came in the last two years after he began his career with the Toronto Blue Jays in the American League. He did not allow more that two runs in any of his three starts vs. Atlanta while posting a 2.25 ERA, a microscopic 0.90 WHIP and limiting Brave batters to a .183 batting average with 18 strikeouts against five walks in 20 innings.

He is facing an Atlanta lineup that has not hit much this season despite the great start in the standings, as the Braves are batting just .235 overall and an even worse .226 here at home.

MLB Pick: Mets, Braves ‘under’ 7 (-104)

[gameodds]3/225985/238-19-93-92-1096/us[/gameodds]

Boston Red Sox at Texas Rangers (8:05 ET) – MLB Network national

The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 9 for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -115.

The Rangers had been the only team in the Major Leagues not to lose a series this season, but that changed when Texas dropped the rubber game of a three game series 3-1 vs. the Chicago White Sox on Thursday.

Still, Texas continued to get good pitching as they wasted a fine outing from Jason Grimm, and the Rangers lead the American League with a 3.20 team ERA. Tonight’s starter, southpaw Derek Holland, has been a big part of that despite owning just a 1-2 record, as he has a 3.38 ERA and an excellent 0.95 WHIP in 34.2 inning while limiting the opposition to a puny .195 batting average, with a nice ratio of 28 strikeouts against nine walks.
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Holland has four Quality Starts out of five total starts this season, and he also has a string of four straight Quality Starts in his last four career starts vs. the Red Sox. He is 4-1 lifetime vs. Boston with a 3.00 ERA and a 0.97 WHIP while holding the Red Sox to a .202 batting average with 28 strikeouts vs. eight walks in 33 innings.

Furthermore Holland is facing a Boston lineup that has struggled vs. left-handed pitching this season, batting only .236 vs. southpaws while averaging just 3.96 runs per nine innings against them compared to an impressive .283 average and a whopping 6.05 runs per nine innings vs. right-handers.

The Red Sox counter with fellow left-hander Felix Doubront, who has been quite steady this year. Now Doubront does not have eye-popping numbers with a 4.24 ERA and 1.41 WHIP despite a 3-0 record, but he does have 29 strikeouts in 23.1 innings and he has yet to allow more than three earned runs in any start.

Doubront does tend to run up high pitch counts though because he also has 11 walks, but the Boston bullpen has been much better as of late after a terrible start to this season, and besides Doubront could be catching the Texas offense at the perfect time as the Rangers have managed a total of only three runs and 12 hits over the last two nights.

Finally, Texas totals have been inflated for most of this early season, with the ‘under’ going 17-9-2 in all Rangers’ games so far.

MLB Pick: Red Sox, Rangers ‘under’ 9 (-115)

[gameodds]3/225986/238-19-93-92-1096/us[/gameodds]

Tampa Bay Rays at Colorado Rockies (8:40 ET)

The posted total at 5 Dimes is 9 for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -105.

The old adage of “good pitching stops good hitting” will be put to the test on Friday, as the Rockies lead the Major Leagues in batting average at .283 and they lead the National League in runs scored with 5.29 per game, but they are going up against one of the best left-handers in baseball thus far this year in Matt Moore of the Rays.

You may recall that Rays Manager Joe Maddon had so much confidence in Moore that he started him in Game 1 of the 2011 ALDS vs. the Texas Randers despite the fact that he had just one career Major League start prior to that post-season. Moore then showed some flashes of brilliance in his first full Major League season last year although he struggled with inconsistency while finishing just 11-11 with a 3.81 ERA and 1.35 WHIP, as he walked far too many batters.

However, Moore is living up to his potential this year as he is a perfect 5-0 in five starts with a tiny 1.13 ERA and 0.88 WHIP, incredibly holding opponents to a .122 batting average! Moore has an impressive 38 strikeouts in 32 innings with a more acceptable 15 walks, and keep in mind that he has yet to turn 24-years-old, which is bad new for the rest of the league not only for this season but probably for many years to come.

This will also be Moore’s first ever appearance vs. the Rockies, which is usually to the pitcher’s advantage regardless of how good a hitting team he is facing, and since Moore is primarily a power pitcher that has thrown fastballs on 63.5 percent of his pitches this season while averaging 92.6 MPH, pitching at high altitude should not effect him as much as pitchers that rely more on their breaking balls.

Jeff Francis gets the start for Colorado, and although he has had a forgettable season so far at 1-2 with a 7.29 ERA, the veteran left-hander did allow only two runs and four hits in five innings vs. the Arizona Diamondbacks on Saturday and he is facing what has been a very weak Tampa Bay lineup this season that tails off considerably in the 5-9 spots in the lineup.

MLB Pick: Rays, Rockies ‘under’ 9 (-105)

[gameodds]3/225990/19-238-93-92-1096/us[/gameodds]

Record: 1-1, -0.05