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 Monday.
There could be a relatively high scoring affair Monday night in an American League East battle when R.A. Dickey and the Toronto Blue Jays (56-50, 26-27 away) pay a visit to fellow right-hander Clay Buchholz and the Boston Red Sox (48-57, 26-26 home) in the first game of a three-game series from Fenway Park in Boston, MA at 7:10 ET in a game televised nationally on ESPN.
The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 8½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘over’ set at -120.
American League East Race
The Blue Jays enter this series with some momentum after winning the last two games of a big three-game series vs. the Yankees in New York this weekend, giving Toronto sole possession of second place in the American League East three games behind the first-place Baltimore Orioles. The Jays have now won five of their least six games as they preceded their trip to New York by winning the last three games of a four-game series vs. these Red Sox in Toronto.
The defending World Champion Red Sox have been hugely disappointing MLB picks this season, going from the pinnacle of the sport last year to last place in the East this year, 7½ games behind these Blue Jays and 10½ games behind division-leading Baltimore. The biggest problem for Boston this year has been uncharacteristically having trouble scoring runs, averaging only 3.89 per game overall.
The Red Sox are returning home from bookended 2-5 road trip, winning the first game in Toronto and the last game in Tampa Bay 3-2 yesterday but losing five straight games in between.
Red Sox Bats Could Awaken
This is actually a pitching rematch from last Wednesday when Dickey and the Blue Jays beat Buchholz and the Red Sox 6-4 with neither starting pitcher being particularly effective. Dickey was credited for the win, but he did not exactly fool the Boston batters while being charged with four earned runs on nine hits plus one walk in six innings.
That marked the third time since the beginning of last season that Dickey has allowed at least four earned runs vs. the Red Sox, allowing seven and five earned runs respectively on the other two occasions, and he has never pitched particularly well here at Fenway Park going 0-1 in five starts with a 6.91 ERA and 1.40 WHIP and the Red Sox batting .293 off of him, so this is one instance where the Boston bats could easily awaken.
Furthermore, the Blue Jays are still having bullpen issues too as they are ranked 27th in the Major Leagues with a 4.40 pen ERA.
Buchholz Probably Not Right
Buchholz has had an injury riddled year where he spent one month on the Disabled List with a knee injury, and outside of one outlying performance vs. the Houston Astros where he tossed a Complete Game three-hit shutout with 12 strikeouts, he has not looked quite right physically in his other performances. The end result has been a 5-6 record with an ugly 5.50 ERA and 1.53 WHIP overall, and his strikeout rate is down with 66 of them in 91.2 innings.
Despite being just 29-years-old, Buchholz’s velocity is down this year with his fastball averaging 91.5 MPH after approaching 95 MPH in previous years, so it could very well be that his knee is still bothering him more than he is letting on. He was touched up for five runs (four earned) on six hits plus a disturbing four walks vs. just one strikeout in six innings while taking the loss vs. Dickey and the Jays last week.
Boston Picking Up vs. Righties
As bad as the Red Sox have been offensively this season, they have been a bit better vs. right-handed pitchers as of late, batting .266 while averaging 4.59 runs per game against them over the last 10 games as opposed to batting .246 and averaging just 3.75 runs vs. southpaws over this same span.
Offense has never been an issue for the Blue Jays this year as they are ranked fifth in the majors in both batting (.262) and runs scored (4.55 per game) while leading the league in home runs with 127 in 106 games, and they have actually been better than those already gaudy numbers vs. right-handers over the last 10 games, hitting .305 against then while averaging 5.86 runs in this span.
Thus, look for an entertaining, high scoring game from Boston on ESPN Monday Night Baseball.
MLB Pick: Blue Jays, Red Sox ‘over’ 8½ (-120)