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.
Two hot pitchers get together Monday night in what is currently a matchup of the top two teams in the American League East when rookie right-hander Marcus Stroman and the Toronto Blue Jays (77-71, 36-38 away) pay a visit to southpaw Wei-Yin Chen and the Baltimore Orioles (89-60, 46-29 home) in the first game of a three-game series from Camden Yards in Baltimore, MD at 7:05 ET in a game available on MASN2.
The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 7½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -111.
On Verge of Clinching Division
Although these are the top two teams in the division, there is certainly not much of a pennant race going on as the Orioles took three out of four from the New York Yankees in four well pitched games this past weekend, allowing the Blue Jays to pass the Yankees for second but at a whopping 11½ games behind Baltimore! The Orioles’ lead in the loss column is 11 games with 13 games remaining, so their magic number to clinch the division stands at three.
The Blue Jays will obviously not win the AL East, but they remain longshot MLB picks for a playoff spot as they trail the Kansas City Royals by four games for the second wild card with 14 games remaining and the Seattle Mariners also sitting between those two teams. Toronto did not help its cause by losing two out of three games to the Tampa Bay Rays over the weekend.
15-Game Winner in Good Form
The one knock against the Orioles this season is that they do not have that true ace starter that you can trust in a Game 7 if necessary, although it is Chen that has the best record on the staff at 15-4, albeit with a good but not ace-like 3.59 ERA.
Still, he has looked more like an ace in his more recent starts and that might allow him to get the nod in that capacity over Chris Tillman once the post-season begins, especially if Baltimore is matched with a team that struggles vs. left-handers. Chen has allowed three runs or less in five of his last six starts, and he has been especially sharp in his last two outings while allowing a grand total of one run and seven hits in 13 innings.
Yes Chen is facing a potent offense but remember that the Blue Jays are batting 22 points lower vs. left-handers this year (.241) than they are vs. right-handers (.263).
Nice Rookie Season
Stroman was a welcome mid-season addition to the Toronto rotation as the youngster has reached double-digit wins in his first season, going 10-5 with an acceptable 3.61 ERA. He is coming off of his first Major League Complete Game, and it was not just any Complete Game last Monday but a three-hit shutout of the Chicago Cubs in which he struck out eight and did not walk a single batter while needing only 93 pitches to navigate the nine frames.
And that start did not come out of nowhere either as Stroman has now allowed two runs or less in three straight starts, posting a 1.59 ERA and 0.79 WHIP over those three outings with 18 strikeouts vs. two walks in 22.2 innings! In fact Stroman has been demonstrating good command all year, especially for a rookie, with 97 strikeouts vs. 26 walks in 114.2 Major League innings.
This will also be his first appearance ever vs. Baltimore, which should make him even tougher to hit.
Both Pitchers Trending ‘under’
As well as these pitchers have pitched it should come as no surprise that both have good ‘under’ trends in play here. The ‘under’ is 7-2 in Chen’s last nine starts overall, as well as 7-2-1 in Stroman’s last 10 starts.
Look for both of those patterns to continue for at least one more outing with another ‘under’ from Camden Yards in Baltimore on Monday.
MLB Pick: Blue Jays, Orioles ‘under’ 7½ (-111)