MLB Picks: Daily MLB Total Plays Monday

LT Profits Sports Group

Monday, May 13, 2013 4:00 AM GMT

Monday, May. 13, 2013 4:00 AM GMT

After a 1-1 split on Sunday, LT continue their Daily MLB Total Plays series where they take a look at several totals where the numbers posted by the books do not add up for Monday.

We did the splits on Sunday going 1-1 with our two ‘under’ plays a dropping a puny two cents for the day. It was a grand day for the ‘under’ overall as it went a blazing 11-3 across all MLB games on Sunday, still leaving the ‘over’ at 283-249, 53.2 percent (omitting ‘pushes’) for the season.

Still, the tide is starting to turn and remember that there are almost always more ‘unders’ than ‘overs’ over the course of a full MLB season. We have three more ‘under’ plays for Monday.

New York Mets at St. Louis Cardinals (7:05 ET) – ESPN national

The posted total at Pinnacle Spots is 7½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -105.

The Cardinals have the best record in the National League and the reason why is obvious, as St. Louis leads the Major Leagues with a 3.06 ERA after the staff tossed two shutouts vs. the Colorado Rockies this past weekend. Amazingly, all five Cardinal starting pitchers have an ERA of 2.88 or lower, and it is a good thing that is the case because the St. Louis offense was in hibernation over the weekend, managing a total of only eight runs in three games.

Lance Lynn has been one of the contributors with a 5-1 record to go along with a 2.72 ERA and 1.05 WHIP, and he has an excellent 47 strikeouts in 43 innings against only 16 walks. Lynn has five Quality Starts in seven outings this season and none of them were of the cheap variety either, as he allowed one run or less in four of those quality efforts and two runs in the other.

Lynn is facing a Mets’ lineup that has tailed off considerably after an unrealistically hot start to the year, as New York has dropped down to 28th in the Major Leagues wit a .231 team batting average, leaving the Mets second to last in that category in the National League ahead of only the lowly Miami Marlins. The Mets just scored a grand total of 10 runs during a four-game series with the Pittsburgh Pirates, losing the last three games after winning the series opener 3-2.

The Mets even lost with Cy Young Award candidate Matt Harvey taking the start yesterday, although he escaped with a no-decision after allowing two runs in seven innings. Tonight the Mets turn to the winless Jeremy Hefner, who has actually not pitched as bad as his 0-4 record and who could have an advantage facing the Cardinals for the first time ever, especially considering how quiet the St. Louis bats have been as of late.

When Hefner allowed four runs on eight hits in six innings in a 6-3 loss to the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday, it snapped a streak of three straight games where he allowed three runs or less and he has still done so four times in his six starts this season. Hefner has a very passable 1.26 WHIP and a 1.95 groundball-to-flyball ratio, and although he relies on getting groundball outs, he still has a good ratio of 25 strikeouts to 12 walks in 35 innings.

He should continue to pitch well facing St. Louis for the first time, and the Cardinals did not exactly struggle vs. three elite pitchers over the weekend, scoring only eight runs vs. Jon Garland, Jhoulys Chacin and Jorge De La Rosa.

MLB Pick: Mets, Cardinals ‘under’ 7½ (-105)

[gameodds]3/226540/238-92-43-349-999994/us[/gameodds]

Atlanta Braves at Arizona Diamondbacks (9:40 ET)

The posted total at Pinnacle Spots is 8 for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -114.

The Diamondbacks continue to be one of the most ‘under’ friendly teams in baseball as they have now gone ‘under’ in five straight game after doing so in every game of a four-game series vs. the Philadelphia Phillies, bringing the ‘under’ to 24-14 in all Arizona games this season including a lucrative 14-6 here at home. We see no reason for that pattern not to continue vs. one of the best pitching staffs in baseball in the Atlanta Braves.

Southpaw Wade Miley gets the call for the Diamondbacks on Monday, and after garnering some Rookie of the Year votes while going 16-11 with a 3.33 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and an impressive 144 strikeouts vs. 37 walks in his first season last year, Miley is at it again this year. He is 3-1 with a 2.93 ERA while allowing three runs or less in six of his seven starts. He is coming off of a 3-2 victory over reigning Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw and the Dodgers on Wednesday.

Miley did not start against the Braves last season and he is facing an Atlanta offense that has not really done much this year while posting just a .240 team batting average to rank 23rd in the Major Leagues and 11th in the National League. He also has the support of an Arizona bullpen that is ranked sixth in the National League with a 3.14 ERA while holding opponents to a .235 batting average.

The Braves still lead the National League East Division though by one game over the second place Washington Nationals, and the reason why is pitching. In fact, both of these teams are in the top six in the National League in team ERA, with Arizona ranking third at 3.45 and Atlanta ranking sixth at 3.62.

The Braves are also starting a southpaw tonight in Mike Minor, who has been terrific since struggling mightily over the first half of last season. After posting an ugly 5.97 ERA while going 5-6 before the All-Star break last year, he went 6-4 but with a 2.16 ERA and 0.87 WHIP after the break while holding opponents to a .197 average with 67 strikeouts vs. 16 walks. Well, he is 4-2 this year with a 2.96 ERA, 0.90 WHIP and a fantastic 38 strikeouts vs. eight walks!

Minor pitched well in his only career start vs. Arizona, and it came during his first-half struggles last season when he held the Snakes to one earned run on just five hits in eight innings. He is facing an Arizona lineup batting just .222 vs. left-handed pitchers while averaging just 3.45 runs per nine innings against them and he has the support of an Atlanta bullpen that ranks third in the National League with a 2.96 ERA.

MLB Pick: Braves, Diamondbacks ‘under’ 8 (-114)

[gameodds]3/226544/238-92-43-349-999994/us[/gameodds]

Kansas City Royals at Los Angeles Angels (10:05 ET)

The posted total at Pinnacle Spots is 9 for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -110.

This is a matchup of two surprising teams as the Angels have been a major disappointment, sitting in fourth place in the American League West Division with a 14-23 record and trailing the Texas Rangers by 10 games after Chris Sale of the Chicago White Sox nearly threw a Perfect Game against them Sunday. The Royals meanwhile have been a pleasant surprise at in the American League Central, trailing the Detroit Tigers by just 1½ games.

The Angels do have a fairly hot pitcher on the mound though in Joe Blanton. Granted, Blanton was not good in his first four starts in an Angel uniform, and that is why he is a key reason why he is 0-6 with a 5.66 ERA and 1.79 WHIP with Los Angeles as a team going 0-7 in all of his starts. However, he has turned things around by tossing three consecutive Quality Starts, but he is an extremely unlucky 0-3 in those starts because the Angels managed a total of four runs.

He should continue his improvement here as the Royals have not hit nearly as well vs. right-handed pitchers, batting .246 while averaging only 3.77 runs per nine innings against them, as they have vs. left-handed pitchers, against whom they are batting a whopping .285 while averaging a potent 5.54 runs per nine innings.

The Royals were just swept in a three-game series by the New York Yankees while scoring a total of only four runs the last two games, including managing two runs on seven hits vs. the right-handed trio of Hiroki Kuroda, David Robertson and Mariano Rivera yesterday. You can bet that Angels’ Manager Mike Scioscia is well aware of Kansas City’s batting splits and will avoid bringing in southpaw relief pitchers if he can help it.

Still, the Angels are not hitting right now batting a woeful .219 as a team while averaging 3.60 runs per nine innings over the last 10 games, and that should help Kansas City starter Luis Mendoza. Like Blanton, Mendoza is also improving after a terrible start to this season as he tossed his second Quality Start of the year vs. the Baltimore Orioles last time out despite taking the 5-3 loss due to two unearned runs.

Also, there should not be many late tack-on runs in this contest. The Royals rank fifth in the American League in bullpen ERA at 3.03, and while the Angels’ pen got off to a brutal start, it has stabilized nicely as of late with a 2.79 ERA over the last 10 games.

MLB Pick: Royals, Angels ‘under’ 9 (-110)

[gameodds]3/226545/238-92-43-349-999994/us[/gameodds]

Record: 11-14, -4.18

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