My free MLB picks kept rolling last night as I made a single pick featuring the Cubs and Royals from Kansas City.
It was a close 2-1 affair as the game moved along into the later innings, but the Cubs pulled away on the Royals bullpen. While just one run was earned, the Cubs scored four total on the Royals’ bullpen.
Their six-run output was more than enough for Yu Darvish who tossed seven frames of one-run ball and the Cubs’ bullpen pitched two scoreless innings from there to earn a 6-1 win with a chance at the four-game sweep later this evening.
It’s been a red-hot start to the MLB season, so let’s stick to the research and stay hot for Thursday night’s action!
Season Record: 10-4
Now let’s take a look at this free MLB pick featuring the Orioles vs. Marlins from Camden Yards in Baltimore!
Orioles vs. Marlins Betting Odds
- Orioles (+117)
- Marlins (-127)
- Orioles +1.5 (-175)
- Marlins -1.5 (+155)
- Over 8.5 (-110)
- Under 8.5 (-110)
Orioles vs. Marlins MLB Pick Breakdown
Pitching Matchup: BAL – LeBlanc (1-0, 4.09 ERA/5.53 FIP) vs. MIA – Yamamoto (N/A)
It’s the third start of the 2020 season for veteran left-hander Wade LeBlanc after he earned a win in Boston despite allowing four runs in 5.2 frames before turning in an improved effort with 5.1 innings of one-run ball in a no decision against the Rays his second time out.
You know what you’re getting with LeBlanc. A soft-tossing southpaw that has generally been a below-average starter/swingman throughout his big league career.
LeBlanc has had some effective seasons, but owns a 4.45 ERA/4.69 FIP for his career after posting a 5.71 ERA/5.49 FIP in 121.1 innings with the Mariners last season.
He does exhibit good command with a career 2.68 BB/9 clip, but he’s far from a strikeout artist with a 6.57 K/9 for his career including a tiny 5.73 mark this season.
One item of note is that opposing hitters have a BABIP of just .161 against LeBlanc this season, a number that’s certain to rise significantly moving forward.
For the Marlins it’s young right-hander Jordan Yamamoto getting his first start of the 2020 season after initially not cracking the club’s five-man rotation to open the season.
The 24-year-old skipped the Triple-A level on his way to the big leagues last season, posting a 4.46 ERA/4.51 FIP with a 9.38 K/9 across 15 starts and 78.2 innings during his rookie season.
He actually began that season with a 1.57 ERA in 23 innings in the month of June before struggling mightily through the months of July and August and finally settling back down with a 1.74 ERA in the month of September.
Yamamoto was fairly dominant throughout his minor league career, most recently posting a 3.58 ERA/4.20 FIP at the Double-A level in 2019, but also worked to a 2.12 ERA/2.31 FIP at that same level in the 2018 season.
He’ll look to improve his command after posting a 4.12 BB/9 last season in the big leagues and a 3.44 clip at Double-A, however control has not been an issue in his minor league career.
The Orioles offense – expect to be among the worst in baseball again this year – has been a roughly middle-of-the-pack group to this point, posting a 16th-ranked .307 wOBA while netting a 1.3 fWAR from that group so far this season.
Like most teams to this point, they’re certainly not hitting for a high average with a team .225 mark in the early going, but they’ve been able to his 13 home runs on the season while their .165 team ISO is right there in the middle of the pack at 15th.
The offense has gone quiet of late, however, getting shut out in the first two games of this series as they look to salvage at least one win from their three-game set with the Marlins in which they’re actually the road team in their own park.
Like the Orioles, the Marlins’ offense has surprised to the upside a little bit in the early going, but they have just a six-game sample size under their belt at this point.
Their .302 wOBA ranks them 18th in the league, although they’ve been able to hit for some power so far with a .189 ISO that puts them eighth in the league at this juncture.
The team added a couple of veteran pieces in Jonathan Villar and Jesus Aguilar to their league-worst offense from a season ago in which they hit the fewest homers in the league while rankings last in wOBA.
They too were held in check last night by Alex Cobb and the Orioles’ bullpen as they snuck out a 1-0 win one night after notching a 4-0 win to open the series.
The Orioles sported the worst bullpen in baseball last season, but it’s been a different story to this point early in the 2020 campaign.
Their 4.23 ERA ranks 16th, but they also own an excellent 3.12 FIP, 3.52 xFIP and a 0.8 fWAR. They have racked up punchouts at a healthy 9.67 K/9 clip and prevented the long ball at a dynamite 0.60 HR/9 rate.
Five members of their bullpen that have pitched at least three innings have yet to surrender an earned run, led by right-hander Miguel Castro who has hurled 6.1 innings of shutout ball with a 0.93 FIP, 11.37 K/9 and 1.42 BB/9 on the season.
Potential trade bate later this month, Mychal Givens, has also been good in posting three innings of shutout ball with a 1.65 FIP and 15.00 K/9, although he’s walked two in that time.
On the surface, it’s been an excellent start to the season for the Marlins’ bullpen, but if you look under the hood there is concern.
Their 2.92 ERA ranks them ninth, however they also own a 4.93 FIP, 5.36 xFIP, a small 6.57 K/9 and a huge 5.47 BB/9. They have managed to post a shutout on the Orioles to this point in the series, but sooner or later this ‘pen is going to regress if they continue to issue free passes at that outrageous clip. That’s especially true if they cannot strike anyone out.
Closer Brandon Kintzler has been good with four innings of shutout baseball, but he too has just a minuscule 4.50 K/9 and his BABIP sits at .167. The latter number is going to rise.
Nonetheless, the results have been there to this point, it would appear that the Marlins’ bullpen is playing with fire early in the season.
Don’t look now but the Marlins are a shocking 5-1 to open the season and sit atop the NL East division at this point.
We knew crazy stuff was likely to happen in this truncated 60-game season and the Marlins are certainly surprising the baseball world at this point.
The Orioles have held their own at 5-6 and sit second in the AL East, but they do own a -9 run differential while Miami enters with a +8 mark.
When looking at the starting pitching matchup here, it’s hard not to side with the youngster Yamamoto.
LeBlanc dominates the kid in experience, but Yamamoto showed early on last year he can get big-league hitters out and it should be noted that the Orioles’ offense slips to 22nd with a .293 wOBA versus right-handed pitching this season and their ISO slips to .145.
In a small 35 plate-appearance sample versus lefties, the Marlins rank eighth with a .348 wOBA and .206 ISO on the season and seventh with a 130 wRC+.
Of course, we are still dealing with extremely small sample sizes here and both offenses are likely to regress moving forward.
Still, I like the Marlins offense over the Orioles and I very much like Yamamoto over LeBlanc who owns some nerve-wracking peripherals early in the season.
Give me the Marlins at home – albeit at Camden Yards – on the moneyline in this one tonight.