Each day the LT Profits Sports Group seeks out a total that simply does not add up and therefore offers the most value that day. Here is their Total Value Play of the Day for Thursday.
After a high-scoring affair and a low-scoring affair to begin this rivalry series, expect another game on the low side Thursday night in a battle of southpaws young and old when rookie Eduardo Rodriguez and the Boston Red Sox (48-60, 21-32 away) again pay a visit to veteran C.C. Sabathia and the New York Yankees (60-46, 31-18 home) in the final game of a three-game series from Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, NY at 7:05 ET on MLB Network.
The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 9 for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -105.
Rivalry Lost Its Luster?
While this is still one of the most bitter rivalries in sports, the intensity just does not feel quite the same when both teams are not fighting for the American League East title like they oftentimes have been in the past. The Yankees have done their part as they are in first place with a 4½-game lead over the second place Toronto Blue Jays, but the Red Sox have been the worst MLB picks in the division, sitting in last place 13 games behind New York.
The Yankees made an emphatic statement in the opening game of this series winning 13-3 on Tuesday, although to rookie Boston starting pitcher Henry Owens was not to blame allowing a respectable three runs on five hits with five strikeouts in five innings. The Red Sox then showed some fight evening the series in a pitching duel 2-1 on Wednesday, making this series finale the rubber game of the three-game set.
Rodriguez Still Impressive
Speaking of rookie Boston pitchers, Rodriguez was called up with a lot of buzz surrounding him on May 28th, and for the most part he has lived up to the hype although you would not know it by his 4.34 ERA. That is because he has had three very poor starts over which he has allowed a total of 22 earned runs in 10 innings! However, he has been sharp his other times out, and even veteran pitchers would be happy with a 75.0 percent Quality Start rate.
You see, Rodriguez has allowed three runs or less in nine of his 12 starts overall including allowing two runs or less in eight of those outings! That includes his only start vs. the Yankees so far back at Fenway Park in Boston on July 11th where he allowed just two runs on five hits in 6.1 innings.
The 22-year-old native of Venezuela has displayed poise that belies his youth, and with a fastball that averages around 94 MPH, an excellent change-up and a slider with horizontal movement that is above the Major League average, it appears that Rodriguez has an extremely bright future at the big league level.
C.C. Better than His Mainstream Stats
Sabathia is at the opposite side of the spectrum in regards to the point he is at in his Major League career, and the knee-jerk reaction would be to surmise that his pitching days are nearly over when looking at his 4-8 record for a first place team, 5.54 ERA and 1.44 WHIP. Believe or not though, the news surrounding the portly veteran is not all gloom and doom.
After all, C.C. does still have an excellent ratio of 97 strikeouts vs. 25 walks in his 117 innings, which has helped lead to a 3.68 xFIP that is much more representative than his bloated ERA. Sabathia is also averaging 90.1 MPH with his fastball this year topping out at 93.1 MPH after struggling to get out of the 80s last season when he finally gave in to season-shortening knee surgery.
And then there was his only other start vs. the Red Sox so far this season, where he pitched well in Boston allowing two runs on seven hits in six innings. He is now facing a Boston lineup whose worst batting split this year has been vs. left-handed pitchers on the road, with the Red Sox hitting just .229 and averaging a paltry 2.94 runs per game in this situation.
Inflated Totals in the Bronx?
Finally, the “new” Yankee Stadium has been considered a hitter’s ballpark since it opened, but apparently that perception is starting to be built in too much into posted totals here, with the ‘under’ going 7-2 in the last nine games in the Bronx. Moreover, the ‘under’ is 5-1-1 in the Yankees’ last seven games after allowing two runs or less in their previous game. It is also noteworthy that New York pitching has now allowed three runs or less in three straight games.
With both starting pitchers pitching well in their respective first starts vs. tonight’s opponents this year, look for those ‘under’ patterns to continue when Boston visits the Bronx in a game televised nationally on MLB Network on Thursday.
MLB Pick: Yankees, Red Sox ‘under’ 9 (-105)