MLB Picks: Daily MLB Total Plays Monday

LT Profits Sports Group

Monday, May 6, 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 do not add up.

We did the splits on Sunday going 1-1. The Red Sox and Rangers cooperated for us as they did in all three games of their series by going ‘under’ again, but we missed by a mile when the Orioles and Angels soared ‘over’.

We have three totals on our menu for Monday.

Minnesota Twins at Boston Red Sox (7:10 ET)

The posted total at 5 Dimes is 8½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at a positive +105.

The Red Sox are not scoring runs right now as Boston scored a grand total of four runs while getting swept three games by the Texas Rangers this past weekend, and the Sox have gone ‘under’ in four straight games as they only scored three runs in their previous game vs. the Toronto Blue Jays. However, they maintain a 1½-game lead in the American League East over the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles, who are tied for second.

One thing that Boston has gotten this season is good starting pitching, as the starters have a cumulative 3.39 ERA, and Monday starter Clay Buchholz just might be the hottest pitcher in baseball right now as he is 6-0 in six starts with a tiny 1.01 ERA and 0.96 WHIP in 44.2 innings with a very impressive 47 strikeouts against only 16 walks while allowing only one home run! That leaves Buchholz with a sparkling 2.28 FIP.

He should have continued success vs. a Minnesota offense that is batting only .232 vs. right-handed pitchers this season while averaging 3.85 runs per nine innings against them, compared to a much better .252 average and 5.27 runs per nine innings vs. left-handers.

The Twins may actually be exceeding expectations with their 13-14 record to this point, as this year’s team is not really different than the club that finished 66-96 while bringing up the rear in the American League Central last season. Minnesota is currently in fourth place, 4½ games behind the fist place Detroit Tigers and two games ahead of the last place Chicago White Sox.

We have never been fans of Minnesota starter Vance Worley as we felt he was overrated in his rookie year two years ago and that last year’s disappointing season was a truer indication of his real ability. Still, he is facing a struggling offense here and because the Twins do not figure to generate much offense vs. Buchholz, Worley could stand to allow a few runs in this spot and still keep this game ‘under’ the total.

Worley did pitch well in his only outing vs. the Red Sox during interleague play while he was a member of the Philadelphia Phillies, allowing only one run and five hits in seven innings. He has the support of a Minnesota bullpen that may be the best part of the whole team, with a collective 2.56 ERA and 1.13 WHIP.

MLB Pick: Twins, Red Sox ‘under’ 8½ (+105)

[gameodds]3/226149/19-238-93-92-1096/us[/gameodds]

Toronto Blue Jays at Tampa Bay Rays (7:10 ET)

The posted total at 5 Dimes is 7½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -115.

The Blue Jays were actually the favorites to win the American League East before this season began, but we are now into May and Toronto sits in last place in the division 9½ games behind the Boston Red Sox. The Jays are struggling offensively averaging just 3.66 runs per game, and their starting pitchers have not been any better with a collective 5.39 ERA.  That includes one of Toronto’s big acquisitions during the off-season in tonight’s starter Mark Buehrle, who is 1-2 with a bad 6.43 ERA and 1.51 WHIP. The crafty veteran left-hander is eligible to improve tonight though vs. a top-heavy Tampa Bay lineup, and if that happens at least he can keep Toronto in the game before getting to the bullpen, which has been a relative strength with a 3.18 ERA.  You see, the Rays top four hitters in the lineup can all be dangerous, but Tampa Bay’s five through nine spots in the batting order are as weak as any in the American League, and Buehrle is cagey enough to work the first four batters carefully and take advantage of the bottom part of the order.  The Rays sit one spot above the Blue Jays in fourth place and 5½ games behind Boston, although they now have a chance to gain ground during a 10-game home stand beginning with this four-game series. Tampa Bay is 8-4 at home so far compared to just 6-12 on the road.

Now, Rays’ starter Jeremy Hellickson has not had the best of starts either while going 1-2 with a 4.71 ERA, although at least he has a good 1.21 WHIP and 31 strikeouts against 11 walks in 36.1 innings. Also, facing a Toronto lineup that is batting only .224 vs. right-handed pitchers certainly helps, and he does already have a nice track record against the Blue Jays, allowing three earned runs or less in all six career starts against them with all those outings coming the last two years.

In Hellickson’s last start vs. Toronto last September, he tossed 5.2 scoreless innings while allowing five hits with six strikeouts vs. two walks, leaving him with a 2.89 career ERA vs. the Jays with 27 strikeouts against 12 walks.

MLB Pick: Blue Jays, Rays ‘under’ 7½ (-115)

[gameodds]3/226151/19-238-93-92-1096/us[/gameodds]

Arizona Diamondbacks at Los Angeles Dodgers (10:10 ET)

The posted total at 5 Dimes is 7 for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -120.

The Diamondbacks have wasted some pretty good pitching while losing five of their last six games, although Arizona is still only three games behind the San Francisco Giants while in third place in the National League West. Still, perhaps no Arizona starter has been hurt more by a lack of run support than Trevor Cahill, who gets the starting nod on Monday.

Cahill is only 1-3 for the season despite owning a 2.61 ERA and 1.11 WHIP with the league hitting only .222 off of him. He has also had masterful command with 32 strikeouts vs. 13 walks in 38 innings as he has allowed three earned runs or less in five of his six starts, and he allowed only one earned run on eight hits in 13 innings over his last two outings.

Cahill was also brilliant in his first start vs. these Dodgers in Los Angeles this season while hurling 7.1 scoreless innings while allowing six hits and not walking a single batter, but in keeping with the luck he is having this year, he earned no decision in a game that Diamondbacks won 1-0 with a run in the ninth inning.

The Dodgers are fourth in the West 2½ games behind Arizona and 5½ games behind the Giants, and they are averaging a measly 3.47 runs per game overall and batting only .228 vs. right-handed pitchers on the year. It does not help that Los Angeles is injury plagued right now, with Adrian Gonzalez missing the last three games with a stiff neck, Mark Ellis missing the last eight with a strained right quad and Jerry Hairston re-injuring his groin on Sunday.

The injuries have not been limited to the offense either as southpaw pitcher Chris Capuano is coming off of the Disabled List to take this start. Capuano was ineffective in his seasonal debut but he was no doubt bothered by the strained left calf that landed him on the DL after the game. A recovered Capuano should more closely resemble the pitcher that won 12 games while posting a 3.72 ERA for the Dodgers last season after coming over from the New York Mets.

It helps that he is facing an Arizona lineup that has been awful vs. left-handed pitchers, hitting only .212 against them overall while averaging 3.53 runs per nine innings. In fact, the ‘under’ has gone a rather lucrative 19-11-1 in all Arizona games this season, and the ‘under’ is also 8-2 in the last 10 head-to-head meetings between these teams.

MLB Pick: Diamondbacks, Dodgers ‘under’ 7 (-120)

[gameodds]3/226152/19-238-93-92-1096/us[/gameodds]

Record: 4-4, -0.26