MLB Picks: Daily MLB Total Plays Saturday

LT Profits Sports Group

Saturday, May 11, 2013 4:00 AM GMT

Saturday, May. 11, 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.

It was an awful 0-2 night for us on Friday as we came nowhere close with our two ‘under’ calls on the Indians vs. Tigers and Yankees vs. Royals, dropping us to one game below .500 for the year. It was good night for the ‘over’ as it went 10-5 across all MLB games Friday, bringing the ‘over’ to 271-232, 53.9 percent (omitting ‘pushes’) for the season.

We are still confident that the ‘under’ will turn things around as there are almost always more ‘unders’ than ‘overs’ yearly in MLB, and we have two more ‘unders’ for Saturday.

San Diego Padres at Tampa Bay Rays (6:10 ET)

The posted total at 5 Dimes is 8 for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -115.

First of all, we totally get that the Rays are on an unbelievable 12-0 ‘over’ run, but Tampa Bay is really not a good offensive team so we feel that regression simply has to kick in at some point. The Rays have a rather ordinary .255 team batting average and .738 team OPS and most of the damage is being done by the top four spots in the batting order, and we don’t expect those players to keep carrying the bottom half of the order to the extreme that they have been.

Granted, the other part of that ‘over’ equation has been a 4.34 team ERA and Saturday starter Jeremy Hellickson is 1-2 with a 4.79 ERA, but we feel he is a better pitcher than that. We are talking about a guy who had a 3.10 ERA in 31 starts last season and a 2.95 ERA in 29 starts in his first full season in the Major Leagues two years ago, and his command has still been there this year with 34 strikeouts against 15 walks in 41.1 innings.

Hellickson has still allowed three runs or less in four of his last six starts including his last outing Monday, when he departed with a 7-3 lead over the Toronto Blue Jays but the bullpen blew the game for him in an 8-7 Rays’ loss. He is 1-0 here at Tropicana Field and he is facing a San Diego lineup that is batting just .225 vs. right-handed pitchers on the road and is facing Hellickson for the first time ever, which should work to his advantage.

The Padres just completed a 5-1 home stand as they first took two out of three from the Arizona Diamondbacks and then swept the lowly Miami Marlins, but they opened this road trip on a sour note here in St. Petersburg last night, blowing an early 3-0 lead and losing 6-3 on four Tampa Bay runs in the seventh inning. What made that loss disappointing is that the bullpen wasted six good innings from Edinson Volquez and the pen has been one of the team’s strengths.

That pen might get called on for redemption tonight as the Padres have called up Burch Smith to make his first Major League start in this game. Smith is taking the rotation spot of the injured Clayton Richard and he has great numbers through six starts in the minor leagues this season, where he had a 1.15 ERA with 37 strikeouts in 31.3 innings.

As mentioned, the Tampa Bay offense has been overachieving as of late, so perhaps the Rays’ unfamiliarity with Smith will help bring their offense back to reality. Smith has the support of a San Diego bullpen that, notwithstanding last night’s performance, has a good collective 2.87 ERA and 1.19 WHIP while holding the opposition to a .226 batting average.

MLB Pick: Padres, Rays ‘under’ 8 (-115)

[gameodds]3/226404/19-238-93-92-1096/us[/gameodds]

Texas Rangers at Houston Astros (7:10 ET)

The posted total at Bookmaker Sportsbook is 8 for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -110.

The Texas Rangers have been one of the most ‘under’ friendly teams in baseball as it is now 22-11-2 in all of their games this season after going ‘under’ again in a 4-2 win here at Minute Maid Park over the Houston Astros in the series opener last night. Texas leads the American League with a 3.18 staff ERA and it has its ace Yu Darvish on the mound tonight as he looks to duplicate his first outing this season vs. the light-hitting Astros.

Darvish looks like an early Cy Young Award candidate as he is 5-1 with a 2.56 ERA, 0.92 WHIP and 72 strikeouts vs. 15 walks in 55.2 innings while allowing only three home runs, leaving Yu among the Major League leaders with a sparkling 1.86 FIP. Darvish’s season began by nearly tossing a Perfect Game vs. these Astros here in this stadium, as he retired the first 26 batters before allowing a two-out single in the ninth inning, finishing with 14 strikeouts.

Darvish leads the Major Leagues with those 72 strikeouts and he is facing a Houston lineup that leads the majors with 360 strikeouts as a team offensively, so do not expect too much production tonight from an Astros’ team that is ranked 10th in the American League in batting and 12th in runs scored in its first year in the league after spending its entire previous existence in the National League.

As you might expect, the Astros are dead last in the American League West and already 12½ games behind these first place Rangers, and Houston in fact has the worst record in all of baseball at 10-26, as its .278 winning percentage makes it the only team in the big leagues under .300.

Southpaw Erik Bedard has not had a good start in his first year with his new team as he is 0-2 with a disgusting 7.46 ERA, but he has actually had success vs. the Rangers in the past allowing three earned runs or less in five of his last six starts against them, and those starts came vs. more potent offenses than what the Rangers have shown so far this season, especially on the road where Texas is averaging an un-Ranger-like 3.65 runs per game with a modest .249 average.

These teams went ‘over’ when Houston upset Texas 8-2 on opening night, but the last three meetings have all gone ‘under’ including the awesome outing by Darvish and with this pitching matchup tonight, look for the teams to make it four straight ‘unders’ in the head-to-head series.

MLB Pick: Rangers, Astros ‘under’ 8 (-110)

[gameodds]3/226409/93-238-19-92-1096/us[/gameodds]

Record: 10-11, -1.91

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