Porcello, Odorizzi in MLB Odds Pitching Duel?

LT Profits Sports Group

Wednesday, August 20, 2014 2:10 PM GMT

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 Wednesday.

 

Runs could be hard to come by in South Florida Wednesday night when Rick Porcello and the Detroit Tigers (67-56, 34-27 away) pay a visit to fellow right-hander Jake Odorizzi and the Tampa Bay Rays (61-64, 28-35 home) in the second game of a three-game series from Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, FL at 7:10 ET in a game available on Sun Sports.
The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 7½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -128.
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Tigers Fighting to Make Playoffs
The Tigers were the heavy favorites to win the American League Central before the year and they seemed to seal the deal when they acquired David Price, but instead they went on an immediate tailspin just as the Kansas City Royals got hot and zoomed past them into first place. Now, the Tigers are suddenly fighting for their playoff lives as they are tied with the Seattle Mariners for the second wild card after winning the series opener here 8-6 last night.
That contest took 11 innings after the Rays blew an early 4-0 lead for their third straight loss. Remember, Tampa Bay got off to a dreadful start this year after being picked by many to win the American League East prior to the season, bottoming out at 18 games under .500. However they then became the hottest MLB pick in baseball for a while and reached the .500 mark by beating the New York Yankees Friday, only to fall back to three games below the last three contests.
The Rays are in fourth place 11½ games behind the front-running Baltimore Orioles.


Best Season Since Rookie Year
Porcello broke into the majors in nice style in 2009 going 14-9 with a 3.96 ERA, but for some reason he had gone backwards in every season since then. That is until this year, as Porcello is 13-8 while sporting career bests in ERA (3.28) and WHIP (1.16) to this point with a good ratio of 96 strikeouts vs. 32 walks. His year has been so good in fact that he may have been considered an All-Star Game snub.
Granted Porcello has won just one game since the All-Star break but that is through no fault of his own as he had five straight Quality Starts including allowing two runs or less in four of those starts before finally having a rough outing allowing five earned runs in six innings vs. the Mariners last Friday.
And that poor outing could even be excused as Porcello had his routine disrupted by being forced to pitch in relief in a 19-inning marathon last week that resulted in that next start being pushed back a few days. Friday’s start also marked just the fifth time in 23 starts this year that Porcello allowed more than three earned runs in a game!


Bringing Down ERA Nicely
The rookie Odorizzi had a 5.13 ERA through the end of May for the Rays, but his sabremetric numbers were actually quite good at the time meaning some positive regression was expected. And Odorizzi obliged by posting a 2.40 ERA and 0.97 WHIP in five June starts and a 2.90 ERA and 1.16 WHIP in five July starts, and as we now approach the end of August he has allowed three runs or less in 11 of his last 12 starts and his overall ERA is down to 3.82!
The youngster comes off of another dominating performance vs. the Texas Rangers where he allowed just two runs and only four hits in seven innings with seven strikeouts vs. one walk, and that ratio is one of the reasons why Odorizzi has had good sabre numbers for most of the year as he now has 146 strikeouts vs. 46 walks in 129.2 innings overall, with that strikeout rate of 10.13 per nine innings ranking sixth in the Major Leagues.
There is actually still some room for more positive regression too, as Odorizzi currently owns a 3.32 FIP and 3.60 xFIP to go along with a 2.2 WAR.


Offensive Struggles Lately
While it appears that Odorizzi is facing a potent Detroit lineup on paper, the Tigers have actually been quite ordinary lately batting .247 vs. right-handed pitchers over the last 10 games. Then again, even that figure makes the Tigers look like Murderers’ Row compared to Tampa Bay’s .208 batting average vs. right-handers in that same 10-game span!

Therefore, look for runs to be at a premium on a low scoring contest from St. Petersburg on Wednesday.
MLB Pick: Tigers, Rays ‘under’ 7½ (-128)