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.
Although it may not be apparent with a quick glance at the fat ERA of each of the starters, we actually feel the ‘under’ has value Monday night north of the border when right-hander Clay Buchholz and the reeling Boston Red Sox (56-74, 27-34 away) pay a visit to southpaw J.A. Happ and the Toronto Blue Jays (66-64, 34-28 home) in the first game of a three-game series from Rogers Centre in Toronto, ON Canada at 7:07 ET in a game available on NESN.
The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 9 for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at a positive +103.
From First to Worst
The Red Sox have gone from first to worst on the MLB picks in just 10 short months, as they rode an American League East title all the way to a World Series championship last season, only to falter this season and sink to last place. They are now 18 games behind the first place Baltimore Orioles and are on an eight-game losing streak, all at home. So perhaps hitting the road may not be a bad thing for Boston right now.
The Blue Jays meanwhile are starting to lose touch in the division race no thanks to a 6-14 August, as they are now in third place and eight games behind Baltimore, and they need to pick up the pace if they hope to make the playoffs as they have fallen 5½ game behind Seattle for the second wild card spot with three other teams between them and the Mariners. And remember this was a team that led the AL East for much of the first half of the year.
Happ Loves Canada
Happ does not have good overall numbers as he is 8-8 but with a lofty 4.39 ERA and 1.42 WHIP with just a so-so ratio of 93 strikeouts vs. 42 walks in 112.2 innings. You would have a tough time convincing the Red Sox he is just a mediocre pitcher though after Happ tossed six scoreless innings vs. Boston here in Toronto on July 22nd.
Furthermore, Happ has made just one other home start since facing the Red Sox, and in that one he held the first place Orioles to two runs on five hits with 12 strikeouts in eight innings. Were those last two home starts a fluke? Well, not based on Happ’s season-to-date home vs. away splits.
You see, even though he is just 4-4 here, Happ has a 3.26 ERA and 1.26 WHIP in 58 home innings across nine starts, and even his command numbers are far superior at Rogers Centre where he has 55 strikeouts vs. 17 walks in those 58 frames! Comparatively, Happ has a 5.60 ERA and 1.59 WHIP with 38 strikeouts vs. 25 walks in 54.2 innings on the road.
Toronto Offensive Slump
Buchholz is 5-8 with a 5.94 ERA, bur he had appeared to turn a corner with back-to-back good starts since the Red Sox traded away Jon Lester and John Lackey at the trading deadline, as Boston basically implored the last remaining member of the starting rotation that won the World Series last year to get back on track. And that improvement seemed to be continuing vs. Los Angeles Angels in his last start Wednesday when he retired 11 of the first 12 batters.
However Buchholz then imploded with a five-run fifth inning and ended up being charged with six earned runs on seven hits in six innings of the 8-3 loss. Buchholz actually has a chance to succeed if he can avoid the one big inning like he did in his prior two starts as this is still a guy that posted a 1.74 ERA and 1.02 WHIP with 96 strikeouts vs. 36 walks in 16 starts last year.’
Luckily for Buchholz, the Blue Jays may just oblige him in their current offense state. Toronto is batting just .235 and averaging 3.50 runs per game in the last 10 contests, and it does not help that Tony Bautista when 0-for-10 while failing to reach base as the Jays were losing two out of three games here at home to the Tampa Bay Rays over the weekend, marking the first time since April of 2012 that Bautista failed to reach base in three straight games.
Possibly No Big Papi
Another boon to the ‘under’ here could be that David Ortiz could miss this contest after “Big Papi” left each of the last two games early due to a bothersome foot contusion.
So while it may not be an obvious play, the ‘under’ may be the right play in Toronto on Monday.
MLB Pick: Red Sox, Blue Jays ‘under’ 9 (+103)