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.
Despite some recent struggles by the starting pitchers, it could still be a relatively low scoring game Friday night when Drew Smyly and the Detroit Tigers (57-42, 31-17 away) pay a visit to Tyler Skaggs and the Los Angeles Angels (60-41, 35-19 home) in a battle of southpaws in the second game of a four-game weekend series from Angel Stadium in Anaheim, CA at 10:05 ET.
The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 8½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at +100.
Tigers Draw First Blood
The Tigers drew first blood in this big four-game series with a 6-4 road win Thursday in a higher scoring game than expected with reigning Cy Young Award winner Max Scherzer besting Garret Richards, who had a nine-start unbeaten streak snapped. Detroit now leads the second place Kansas City Royals by seven games in the American League Central, and the Tigers greatly improved their World Series chances by acquiring closer Joakim Soria Thursday!
Even with the loss last night, the Angels still have the second best record in the entire Major Leagues on the MLB picks, but they also unluckily share the American League West with the team with the best record and thus trail the Oakland Athletics by three games after the A’s won again yesterday.
Smyly Back on Track
Smyly may have been the best part of an otherwise bad Detroit bullpen last season, but he was always a starter before that and despite their bullpen troubles, the Tigers elected to put him back in the stating rotation this year. And he was doing very well before hitting a rough recent three-game patch where he surrendered 13 runs in 14.1 innings.
He did appear to straighten himself out last time out though, limiting the Cleveland Indians to just one run and four hits in seven innings. That allowed Smyly to lower his ERA to a more respectable 3.80, and he could be catching the Angels at the perfect time as Los Angeles is batting a mere .207 vs. left-handed pitchers over the last 10 games while averaging a pathetic 2.25 runs per nine innings against them during this span.
And like all the Detroit starters, Smyly should appreciate the acquisition of Soria, who leads all qualified Major League relievers in FIP at a sensational 1.07, thanks to his amazing ratio of 42 strikeouts vs. just four walks in 33.1 innings to go along with 17 saves for the Texas Rangers. He should stabilize a Detroit bullpen that has been the team’s Achilles Heel for several seasons.
Which Skaggs Will We See?
Skaggs has been inconsistent for the Angels, although he has also had some nice moments also. That inconsistency has resulted in five Quality Starts and five not-so-good starts in his last 10 outings, so which Skaggs will he see tonight?
Well, one thing in his favor is that this is his first ever appearance vs. the Tigers, which is usually to the pitcher’s advantage. Also, one thing that has been consistent for the most part about Skaggs even when other things have not gone well has been his command, as he has a very good ratio of 74 strikeouts vs. 27 walks and he has allowed only eight homers in 16 starts, resulting in a good 3.59 FIP that is running well ahead of his 4.65 ERA.
Angels Bullpen Improving Too
And while the Tigers may have improved their bullpen yesterday, the Los Angeles bullpen has improved ever since Ernesto Frieri was traded for Jason Grilli a few weeks ago. Grilli has a 1.74 ERA in 10.1 innings in an Angel uniform and the bullpen as a whole has a 2.27 ERA over the last 10 games, a stark uptick from the year-to-date bullpen ERA of 3.77.
Therefore, look for an ‘under’ in Anaheim on Friday.
MLB Pick: Tigers, Angels ‘under’ 8½ (+100)