MLB Picks: Daily MLB Total Plays Thursday

LT Profits Sports Group

Thursday, May 9, 2013 4:00 AM GMT

Fresh off of a 3-0 sweep Wednesday, LT continue their Daily MLB Total Plays where they take a look at several totals where the numbers posted by the books do not add up Thursday.

We nailed the 3-0 sweep on Wednesday with our three ‘under’ calls as the Phillies and Giants, Royals and Orioles, and Angels and Astros all cooperated nicely, bring us back to .500 on the season. The ‘under’ continues to make a comeback as it went 10-5 across all MLB games Wednesday, although the ‘over’ is still 256-222, 53.6 percent (omitting ‘pushes’) for the season.

We have three more totals for Thursday, this time with two ‘unders’ and one ‘over’.

Los Angeles Angels at Houston Astros (8:10 ET)

The posted total at 5 Dimes is 9 for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -110.

We cashed in with the ‘under’ on these teams when the Astros won 3-1 on Wednesday, and lowly Houston, which is still just 10-24 and in last place in its first season in the American League 11 games behind the Texas Rangers, is going for the unexpected sweep after also taking the series opener 7-6 in a higher scoring game. We think the scoring total tonight will more closely resemble last night’s contest than Tuesday’s result.

Lucas Harrell was awful for Houston vs. a good Detroit lineup last time out allowing eight runs on 10 hits in 4.1 innings, but that snapped a streak of four straight starts where he allowed two runs or less, and he has managed to go 3-3 this season while pitching for a last place team that is 14 games under .500. Harrell actually had a breakout season last year going 11-11 with a 3.76 ERA while pitching for a team that finished 55-107, so he is legitimate.

We expect him to have a nice bounce-back effort tonight, as for all of the Angels’ high salaries, they have been hitting like, well, the Astros vs. right-handed pitching lately. The Halos are batting .223 vs. right-handers and averaging only 3.56 runs per nine innings against them over the last 10 games.

In fact the Angels have been disappointing in just about every aspect, as a team that was expected to compete for the American League West title is a terrible 11-22 and just one spot above the Astros in the standings in fourth place, 9½ games behind Texas. And that is not to mention being on the verge of getting swept by those ‘Stros.

Still, that sweep can be avoided if southpaw Jason Vargas continues to pitch as he has lately. Vargas did not pitch well in his first three starts in an Angel uniform, but he has turned things around nicely in his last three outings, all of them Quality Starts, posting a 1.88 ERA and 0.96 WHIP over 24 innings. His last start was his best yet as he finally picked up a win (1-3) while tossing a Complete Game three-hit shutout vs. the Baltimore Orioles Friday.

He should have continued success vs. a Houston lineup that is unfamiliar with him, as his only career appearance vs. Houston came way back in 2005. The Astros are also just 11th in the American League in batting and 12th in runs scored are they have the expected growing pains after playing in the National League in every year of their existence prior to this season.

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

[gameodds]3/226326/19-238-93-92-1096/us[/gameodds]

Philadelphia Phillies at Arizona Diamondbacks (9:40 ET) - MLB Network regional

The posted total at Bookmaker Sportsbook is 8 for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at +100.

This is a matchup of two southpaws from Chase Field in Phoenix that have had surprising starts, albeit for opposite reasons. Young Patrick Corbin has pitched as well as any pitcher in the National League in the early going for Arizona, helping to key the team’s 19-15 record that has the Diamondbacks in third place in the National League West and only one game behind the division leading and World Champion San Francisco Giants.

Corbin showed some brief glimpses of greatness as a rookie last season, but he was still largely mediocre overall. The 23-year-old seems to have matured over the off-season though and he is now 4-0 with an awesome 1.80 ERA and 1.08 WHIP. He has a very nice ratio of 32 strikeouts vs. 10 walks in 40 innings and is a perfect six for six in Quality Starts while not yet allowing more than two runs in any game! Arizona is a shiny 6-0 in all the games he has started.

He is now facing the Phillies for the first time ever, which should work to his advantage, and the Philadelphia lineup has had enough trouble hitting against left-handed pitchers that it has seen, batting a mere .2.15 and averaging a modest 3.40 runs per nine innings against them for the season.

Now, Cole Hamels signed a huge contract during the off-season and was named the Philadelphia ace, and deservedly so based on his career with the Phillies so far. However, he is off to a disappointing 1-4 start with the Phils going 1-6 as a team in all of his outings, and he has a rather high 4.34 ERA. Remember, this is a guy with a lifetime 3.37 ERA and 1.14 WHIP across 219 Major League games with 218 of them being starts.

Still, a closer look reveals that the ERA is rather deceiving, as Hamels still has a nice 1.18 WHIP, he is holding the opposition to a .219 batting average and he has a great ratio of 40 strikeouts vs. 17 walks in 45.2 innings. Hamels has been prone to giving up the long ball, allowing seven home runs in seven starts, and he has obviously not received much run support, but he should be fine once he gets the gopher balls under control.

Hamels is 4-1 lifetime with a 3.47 ERA, 1.07 WHIP and 49 strikeouts vs. 10 walks in 46.2 career innings vs. Arizona, and he allowed three runs or less in six of his seven starts against the Snakes including surrendering just two runs and four hits in eight innings with seven strikeouts and one walk the last time he faced them last season.

MLB Pick: Phillies, Diamondbacks ‘under’ 8 (+100)

[gameodds]3/226327/93-238-19-92-1096/us[/gameodds]

Atlanta Braves at San Francisco Giants (10:15 ET) - MLB Network national

The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 7½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘over’ set at a positive +116.

The World Champion Giants avoided a home sweep at the hands of the Philadelphia Phillies by taking the finale of a three-game series 4-3 in 10 innings Wednesday after blowing a 3-1 lead in the ninth inning. The Giants still lead the tight National League West by one-half game over the second place Colorado Rockies and by one game over the third place Arizona Diamondbacks.

Still, the Giants have not gotten the starting pitching for the most part that they have become accustomed to seeing the last several years as the starters have a collective 4.40 ERA, and Thursday starter Ryan Vogelsong has been one of the bigger disappointments after coming out of nowhere to become an All-Star two years ago and then following that up with another great year last season.

Now 35 years old, Vogelsong has taken a major step backwards this year while more closely resembling the journeyman pitcher he was earlier in his career when he was forced to pitch overseas for a few years. He is 1-2 with a bloated 7.20 ERA and 1.66 WHIP with the league batting a robust .319 off of him through six starts covering 35 innings, He has just one Quality Start and even that outing was not terrific as he allowed three earned runs in seven innings.

Vogelsong did not last beyond five innings in either of his last two starts while allowing a total of 13 runs (12 earned) on 17 hits plus five walks in only 9.2 innings and he must now deal with an Atlanta lineup that has been heating up vs. right-handers, batting .263 and averaging 5.22 runs per nine innings against them over the last five games.

Atlanta starter Julio Teheran is a highly regarded youngster, but he looks like he could have used another half-season or so of minor league seasoning, as his 1-0 record for the Braves is really undeserved considering that he has a 5.08 ERA, 1.66 WHIP and Major League hitters are batting .333 off of him. He had the best start of his brief career in the big leagues two starts ago, but then allowed 10 hits plus a walk in 5.1 innings despite escaping with two runs allowed last time out.

He does not figure to be that fortunate again vs. a San Francisco lineup that is batting .271 and averaging 5.37 runs per nine innings vs. right-handed pitchers over the last 10 games. The ‘over’ is now 8-0 in the last eight Atlanta road games and the chances seem good that streak reaches nine give this pitching matchup Thursday.

MLB Pick: Braves, Giants ‘over’ 7½ (+116)

[gameodds]3/226328/238-19-93-92-1096/us[/gameodds]

Record: 8-8, -0.81