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Orioles at Blue Jays – Free Pick September 5th

Baltimore Orioles +102 at Toronto Blue Jays -110 (Total: 7.5)

Miguel Gonzalez vs. Brandon Morrow

The Baltimore Orioles are in first place in September for the first time since 1997.  That’s a pretty bizarre sentence to type.  Fifteen years have passed since the Orioles have been relevant late in the year, and now, when it finally happens it comes at the expense of a whopping ten game lead blown by the vaunted New York Yankees.  Tonight in Toronto, assuming the Rays cooperate in sweeping the Yanks, the O’s can move into first place all alone.

They may not be “panicking” in the Bronx (allegedly), but you can be sure they are celebrating and enjoying the moment in Baltimore.

So can the O’s keep up their miraculous run tonight against one of the better young pitchers in baseball in Brandon Morrow?  Let’s dig into the numbers and see how they look…

The Orioles will send Miguel Gonzalez to the mound, who has been excellent this season.  He owns a 3.31 ERA coupled with a 6-3 record.  His WHIP of 1.24 is more than respectable and he is 2-1 with a 3.00 ERA in his last three starts.  Morrow has slightly better stats on the season, but there isn’t as wide a discrepancy as one might think.  Gonzalez is also coming off a dominant month of August in which he went 3-1 with a 1.96 ERA.  I expect him to pitch well against a scuffling Blue Jay lineup.

More importantly, the team behind Gonzalez is absolutely dialed in.  The Orioles have won four straight and eight of their last ten.  They are scoring a bevy of runs; 57 in their last ten games and are coming off the heels of a dominating 12-0 win last night.

The Blue Jays, on the other hand, have been dreadful since the All Star break.  What started as a promising season has devolved into another disappointment, and a likely last-place finish.  They have lost four in a row and 15 of 20 overall.  Bautista is already on the shelf for the season, and aside from getting a look at minor league prospects, the Jays are just playing out the string of another less-than-expected season.

For that reason, despite the fantastic Morrow on the mound, you gotta like a team with everything to play for getting plus-money.  Give me Baltimore to win on the road, and keep the tremendous pressure on the Yankees.

Free Pick:  Baltimore Orioles to WIN +102