Each day LT Profits Sports seeks an overlay side that has a better chance of cashing than its spread, offering long term value. Here is their Side Value Play for Tuesday.
The team with the best record in baseball may have a tough time as a road favorite Tuesday night when right-hander Michael Wacha and the St. Louis Cardinals (58-34, 25-22 away) pay a visit to southpaw Carlos Rodon and the Chicago White Sox (42-48, 24-20 home) in the first game of a brief two-game interleague series from U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, IL at 8:10 ET in a game available on FOX Sports - Midwest.
The posted money line at Pinnacle Sports has Chicago as a home underdog for this contest at current odds of +110.
Cards Come Off 18-Inning Affair
The Cardinals had a welcomed day off on Monday after losing an 18-inning marathon to the New York Mets 3-1 on Sunday, and with starter Tim Cooney going only 5.2 innings in that contest, it meant that the bullpen was abused a bit with 12.1 innings of work by seven pitchers, although only six of them were true relievers as starter Carlos Martinez worked the last four frames.
The Cardinals still own the best record in baseball though at 58-34 and a four-game lead over the second place Pittsburgh Pirates in the National League Central.
The White Sox were expected to be improved this year but that has not really been the case so far as they are in last place in the American League Central and now 12½ games behind first place Kansas City after being the losing MLB picks in three out of four games to those Royals here at home over the weekend. The bit of good news is that Chicago is on pace to improve upon its 73-89 record of last season.
Rodon Called Up with High Praise
Rodon was recalled by the White Sox with great hype earlier this season less than one year after being the third overall pick of the 2014 MLB Draft out of North Carolina State. And while they may have rushed the youngster a tad and his command is still not where it needs to be, his enormous potential has been obvious with a few dominant performances on his way to a 3-2 record with a 3.80 ERA.
And remember that left-handed pitchers have been the Achilles Heel of the Cardinals all year long, not dissimilar to recent seasons, as they are batting just .224 and averaging 3.39 runs vs. southpaws overall. Now facing a prized lefty that they have never seen before does not bode well for their chances, making them very treacherous road favorites in this spot.
Sure, the 22-year-old Rodon has a distressing 41 walks already, but he also has 68 strikeouts in 66.1 innings while being unhittable at times thanks to his knockout slider that has topped out at 91.9 MPH, not to mention a four-seam fastball that has averaged 93.1 MPH while topping out at a blazing 98.6!
Un-Wacha-Like Last Start
Meanwhile, Wacha is in the conversation for the National League Cy Young Award this year provided he continues to stay healthy for this entire season, which is something he has yet to do during his brief Major League career. Wacha is currently 10-3 with a 2.93 ERA and 1.10 WHIP.
However, this will be Wacha’s first start in two weeks and he was not sharp in that July 8th start vs. the Cubs, getting tagged for five earned runs on seven hits plus one walk in six innings. Also, while Wacha still has good command numbers this year with 7.21 strikeouts vs. 2.01 walks per nine innings, that strikeout rate is actually down from where it has been his first couple of years and his 3.46 xFIP leaves a little room for correction to his ERA.
And let us not forget that even with the day off Monday, the Cardinals may still be forced to extend Wacha for longer than they would like after that Sunday marathon.
White Sox Swept in St. Louis
Finally, remember that the last-place White Sox went into St. Louis earlier this season and swept two games from the first-place Cardinals. That continued a surprising trend in this interleague series that has now seen the White Sox go 6-2 in the last eight head-to-head meetings.
Look for that unexpected dominance to continue with the White Sox turning up as home underdogs with Rodon hosting St. Louis and Wacha in Chicago on Tuesday.
MLB Pick: White Sox +110