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 Friday.
Two pitchers that just recently joined their respective teams’ starting rotation could combine to produce a relatively low scoring game Friday night when Jerome Williams and the Texas Rangers (43-65, 22-32 away) pay a visit to fellow right-hander Danny Salazar and the Cleveland Indians (53-55, 30-21 home) in the first game of a three-game weekend series from Progressive Field in Cleveland, OH at 7:05 ET in a game available on Sports Time Ohio.
The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 8½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -113.
Indians Drop Back a Bit
The Indians made a surprising run to a wild card spot last season and they appeared to be positioning themselves for another playoff charge this year when they had a hot stretch following a slow start. However, the Tribe have now dropped back to two games under .500 after losing two out of three to the Seattle Mariners here at home, although there is still hope as they trail the first place Tigers by 6½ games in the AL Central and are six games out of a wild card.
The playoffs are the last thing in the minds of the Rangers though as they have been the worst MLB picks in the entire Major Leagues this year at 43-65, one-half game worse from the team that had the league’s worst record each of the last three years, the Houston Astros. Texas has been unable to overcome a horrible slew of injuries that has the Rangers leading the majors in manpower games lost to the Disabled List.
Salazar Back to 2013 Form
You may remember that Salazar was the starting pitcher in the Wild Card Playoff Game last season vs. the Tampa Bay Rays as a rookie after just 10 Major League starts. That should give you an idea of just how impressive he was after his call-up despite his 2-3 record, as Salazar posted a 3.12 ERA and 1.13 WHIP with a great ratio of 65 strikeouts vs. 15 walks in 52 innings while hitting 100 MPH with his fastball on occasion.
However, Salazar’s control escaped him earlier this season and he was sitting with a 5.53 ERA when Cleveland decided to send him down to Triple-A, where he stayed until getting recalled on July 22nd. And he has looked more like his 2013 self in his two starts for the Indians since then going 2-0 while allowing four runs in 12 innings with 13 strikeouts vs. three walks.
He could be very tough here with this being his first appearance ever vs. the Rangers, and he is facing a Texas lineup averaging just 3.40 runs over the last 10 games.
Williams is a Starter Again
Williams has bounced back and forth between the starting rotation and the bullpen throughout his career, and he was pit into the bullpen by the Astros to begin this season. The results were not good as Jerome went 1-4 in 26 relief appearances with a terrible 6.04 ERA and 1.57 WHIP. That did not stop a Rangers’ team with a depleted starting rotation from acquiring Williams from their in-state Texas rivals, and they immediately placed him in the rotation.
And his first start of the season made the Rangers look like geniuses, as Williams was a big underdog vs. the team with the best record in the entire Major Leagues last Friday and promptly limited those Oakland A’s to one run on five hits in six innings as Texas pulled the 4-1 upset. He also pitched well the last time he faced the Indians last season while he was still a member of the Los Angeles Angels, allowing only two runs on six hits in 6.1 innings with six strikeouts
Texas an ‘under’ Machine Lately
With the Rangers not scoring runs lately and their pitching has actually been half-decent with a 3.96 team ERA over the last 10 games, the ‘under’ has gone 8-2 in those contests. And remember that this stretch includes one giant outlier that the Rangers lost 12-11 to the New York Yankees, so they have actually hit worse and pitched better for the most part than the overall numbers the last 10 games suggest.
As long as each of these starting pitchers can come close to matching their recent starts, look for that Texas ‘under’ pattern to continue for at least one more game in Cleveland on Friday.
MLB Pick: Rangers, Indians ‘under’ 8½ (-113)