Each day LT Profits Sports seeks an overlay side that has a better chance of cashing than its spread, offering long term value. Here is their Side Value Play for Tuesday.
A young starter with vast potential could offer value vs. a Cy Young Award candidate Tuesday night when Joe Ross and those Washington Nationals (58-53, 27-30 away) pay a visit to fellow right-hander Zack Greinke and the Los Angeles Dodgers (62-50, 37-19 home) in the second game of a three-game series from Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, CA at 10:10 ET in a game available on MASN.
The posted money line at Pinnacle Sports has Washington as a road underdog for this contest at current odds of +148.
Nationals Chasing the Mets
The Nationals were the preseason favorites to win the World Series, but they may not even win their own division this year as they still trail the New York Mets by 1½ games after both teams won on Monday. Washington took the series opener here in Los Angeles 8-3 with Gio Gonzalez getting the best of Brett Anderson.
The Dodgers are the current favorites to win the National League Pennant, but they are not even running away in the National League West with a slim 2½-game lead over the defending World Champion San Francisco Giants in second and Los Angeles has now been the losing MLB pick in four straight games, getting swept three games by the Pirates over the weekend in Pittsburgh before dropping this series opener last night.
Ross Vying for Playoff Rotation
The reason why the Nationals were the preseason favorites to win it all was because they were thought to have one of the best starting rotations in a very long time with Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Gio Gonzalez and Doug Fister. However, the youngster Ross is now making his bid to become the fourth starter in the Washington playoff rotation, assuming the Nationals make the post-season.
That is because while Gonzalez has been inconsistent and Fister has been relegated to the bullpen, Ross has been the one taking over Fister’s rotation spot by being spectacular over his first seven Major League starts. The top prospect may have just a 3-3 record to show for it, but he has allowed three runs or less in all seven of his starts while posting a 2.80 ERA and 0.91 WHIP with a sensational ratio of 47 strikeouts vs. four walks in 45 innings!
That is impeccable command for someone so young and Ross does it primarily with a fantastic cut fastball that has averaged 92.9 MPH, a cutter reminiscent of that of Mariano Rivera. And the fact that the Dodgers have never faced him before should make him extremely tough to hit.
Worst Start of Season
Now do not get us wrong, as Greinke is certainly one of the elite pitchers in all of baseball at 11-2 with a 1.71 ERA and 0.85 WHIP and a fine ratio of his own with 136 strikeouts vs. 27 walks in 152.1 innings. In fact, Greinke is probably competing with his own teammate Clayton Kershaw as well as National Max Scherzer for Cy Young honors in the National League.
Still, Greinke did show he is human after all with his worst start of the year his last time out last Thursday, allowing six earned runs on seven hits plus two walks in six innings…and vs. the last place Phillies no less! Greinke also matched his season high that game with 111 pitches thrown despite going just those six innings, so it remains to be seen if that will have a bit of a lingering effect.
The bottom line though is that besides Greinke having the larger body of work this year, Ross seems able to match him in just about every department here, especially with his great command ratio.
Struggles vs. Good Pitching
Finally, while the Dodgers remain one of the favorites to win the World Series this year, they remain vulnerable to good pitching as they are just 1-5 in their last six games vs. starters with a WHIP less than 1.15.
With Ross seemingly underrated for the Nationals at the present time, look for those woes to continue, making Washington the upset call at a nice price visiting Greinke and the Los Angeles Dodgers on Tuesday.
MLB Pick: Nationals +148