Each day the LT Profits Sports Group seeks out an MLB total that does not add up and offers the most value that day. Here is their Total Value Play of the Day for Saturday.
Expect some regression and an ‘over’ Saturday night in a matchup of two pitchers that have probably been pitching over their heads as of late when Edinson Volquez and the Pittsburgh Pirates (66-62, 26-36 away) pay a visit to fellow right-hander Wily Peralta and the Milwaukee Brewers (71-57, 35-30 home) in the second game of a big three-game series from Miller Park in Milwaukee, WI at 7:10 ET in a game available on ROOT.
The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 8 for this contest with the current odds on the ‘over’ set at -123.
Pirates Draw Closer
The Pirates drew a bit closer in the National League Central race by taking the series opener here in Milwaukee 8-3 on Friday as they pounded out 11 hits including home runs by Andrew McCutchen and Josh Harrison. That leaves Pittsburgh five games Milwaukee in the division and also just 2½ games behind the San Francisco Giants for the second and last wild card spot in the National League.
The Brewers have been one of the more surprising MLB picks in baseball this year as they have led the division this entire season, an NL Central that last year became the first division ever to send three teams to the MLB Playoffs with Milwaukee not being one of them! However, the Brewers currently have a 1½-game lead on the second place St. Louis Cardinals this season.
Which Volquez Show Up?
Volquez has never been known for his consistency and this year is no exception. The good news for the Pirates is that Volquez is in excellent form right now as he has a sparkling 1.40 ERA and 0.98 WHIP over his last three starts! Yes he was charged with four runs in 6.1 innings vs. the red-hot Washington Nationals last time out, but only one of those runs were earned.
The bad news for the Pirates is that Volquez seems to have hot stretches like this every season and this is not even his first such stretch this year, only to suddenly implode and not be able to get anybody out. Even with this hot stretch, his control still leaves a lot to be desired as his high walk rate of 3.27 per nine innings ranks 16th worst in the Major Leagues among qualified starting pitchers.
Because of that inconsistency, Volquez has a bad 4.35 FIP and 4.25 xFIP that are both running considerably behind his 3.58 ERA, which is never a good sign as it suggests negative regression is on the way.
Peralta’s Sabres Not Great
Believe it or not, the 15-7 Peralta could take over the Major League lead in wins with a victory here. Talk about pitching under the radar! Peralta also appears to be in fine current form as he has a 1.42 ERA over his last three starts, although his 1.32 WHIP in this span is below average.
However, Peralta is also outperforming his sabremetric numbers, which as we mentioned is not a good omen. Peralta has a poor 4.18 FIP, a decent 3.64 xFIP that is still running behind his 3.32 ERA and a very average 1.00 WAR. There is a reason why many people do not even realize that Peralta is among the Major Leagues wins leaders this season and that is because he is in reality a very mediocre pitcher.
Besides this being a matchup of two overachieving starting pitchers, neither bullpen is particularly special. The Pirates had one of the best bullpens in baseball last season, but that was with the now departed Jason Grilli having a career year and Pittsburgh has slipped to 17th in the major in bullpen ERA at 3.56 this year, and that pen ERA is at 4.18 over the last 10 games! Milwaukee meanwhile is right behind in 18th with a 3.61 bullpen ERA.
Add this all up and this could be a higher scoring game than just a quick glance at the recent form of each starting pitcher would suggest, so go ‘over’ in Milwaukee on Saturday.
MLB Pick: Pirates, Brewers ‘over’ 8 (-123)