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 Tuesday.
After a low scoring extra-innings affair in the series opener last night, look for another ‘under’ when southpaw Drew Smyly and his new team the Tampa Bay Rays (54-58, 27-26 away) pay a visit to right-hander Jason Hammel and the Oakland Athletics (68-43, 36-19 home) in the second game of a three-game series from O.co Coliseum in Oakland, CA at 10:05 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 -117.
A’s Win Squeaker in 10
The Athletics spoiled our promising underdog play on the Rays +131 on Monday by prevailing 3-2 in 10 innings. Thus the A’s were able to maintain their one-game lead over the Los Angeles Angels, who beat the arch rival Dodgers last night, as the teams with the two best records in all of baseball just happen to both reside on the American League West.
The Rays were popular MLB picks to win the American League East prior to the season, but they had a dreadful start that left them 18 games under .500. They then went on a prolonged hot streak that got them back into playoff contention, but that did not prevent them from trading David Price to the Detroit Tigers at the trading deadline and Tampa Bay has leveled off losing four of its last five games to fall 9½ games behind first-place Baltimore while in fourth place.
Smyly Makes Tampa Bay Debut
Smyly was a key part of that Price trade coming over from the Tigers and the southpaw is now making his Tampa Bay debut. Smyly re-entered the Detroit rotation after pitching in the bullpen last season, and he brings to St. Petersburg a 6-9 record with a 3.93 ERA and 1.35 WHIP. He has been a bit better than that lately though with a 3.57 ERA in his last three starts along with a 1.25 WHIP and a very good ratio of 19 strikeouts vs. three walks in 17.2 innings.
The 25-year-old now has a career 3.46 ERA and 1.22 WHIP in 280.2 innings, and the Rays envision him as a mid-rotation starter for years to come as he should be approaching his peak years. While he now tries to make a good first impression vs. the team with the best record in baseball, keep in mind that Oakland recently traded away Yoenis Cespedes and is batting just .218 vs. left-handed pitchers the last 10 games, so we look for Smyly to perform well.
Hammel Looks to Get Going
Speaking of recent trades, Hammel came over to Oakland from the Cubs in the same trade that brought last night’s starter Jeff Samardzija, except Hammel has had great difficulty re-adjusting to life in the American League up until now. Hammel made his Oakland debut on July 9th against the San Francisco Giants and it has been a struggle for his new team as he is 0-4 in four starts with a disgusting 9.53 ERA and 2.12 WHIP over 17 innings.
We feel this stretch is just a blip in the road for Hammel though as he has had success in the American League in the past with the Baltimore Orioles. In fact, he faced Tampa Bay five times in the last two years as a member of the division rival O’s and he allowed three runs or less in four of those starts.
That could make the Rays the perfect opponents for Hammel could get back on track against, especially considering Tampa Bay is batting just .234 vs. right-handed pitchers on the road this year while averaging 3.48 runs per nine innings against them, and that scoring production vs. righties has dropped further to a mere 2.75 runs per nine innings over the last 10 games.
Bullpens Prevent Tack-On Runs
Finally, both starting pitchers have hot bullpens at the ready at the earliest signs of trouble, as the Oakland bullpen has a spectacular 0.65 ERA and 0.72 WHIP over the last 10 games and the Tampa Bay bullpen has also sparkled with a 1.76 ERA and 1.11 WHIP in that same 10-game span. Thus do not expect many late tack-on runs here that often blow up an ‘under’ pace.
Therefore, look for the pitching to dictate this game from start to finish and for a second ‘under’ in as many nights in Oakland on Tuesday.
MLB Pick: Rays, Athletics ‘under’ 7½ (-117)