The Philadelphia Phillies are in Baltimore Thursday for a quick one-game series with the Orioles. The game is a makeup game from an earlier series, and both teams are happy to sneak the game in today, weather permitting. The Phillies enter this game in a tie with the Atlanta Braves for first place in the National League East Division at 51-40. Meanwhile, The Orioles have the worst record in the entire Major Leagues at 26-67, and pretty much the entire team is up on the trade block as the trade deadline looms just a couple weeks away.
Starting for the Orioles is Kevin Gausman (4-6 4.11 ERA), and for the Phillies, it is Nick Pivetta (5-7 4.62 ERA). The Orioles are slight -107 home favorites. The game total over-under is set at nine runs. First pitch is scheduled for 3:05 PM PST from Camden Yards in Baltimore.
No that wasn’t a typo, the Orioles are favored in a game! How? Why? What? I know these unexpected road detours are tough on the visiting team, but the Orioles as favorites? I’m not sure this team should be favored against anybody right now. The Orioles are the definition of a dumpster can fire of a team this season, and all you really hear about them right now is who are they going to trade all their best players to this year.
Manny Machado is the name at the top of the marquee, and it absolutely makes sense to move the all-world infielder. Pretty much every team in the big leagues that’s even remotely in contention have thrown their hats into the Machado sweepstakes, and I can see why. The kid is still just twenty-six years old and is enjoying his best season yet. He is hitting .314 with twenty-three homers and sixty-three RBIs, those are MVP type numbers.
Throw in the fact that he has a gold glove level glove at both third base and shortstop and you can see why everybody wants him. The Orioles have to get this move right. If they lose a generational talent like Machado and don’t end up with a king’s ransom in return, it will likely set them back for the rest of the decade. They need to hit a home run with this move and build for the future in a big way.
Starting tonight for the Orioles is Kevin Gausman. Gausman hasn’t really pitched all that bad this season, but that hasn’t stopped the Orioles from losing just about every game he starts. The O’s have lost nine out of his last ten starts despite the fact that his ERA has been right around the four-run mark for much of the season. Gausman is going to get you five or six innings of decent work, but this Orioles offense that is twenty-ninth on the majors in runs scored makes sure that it is always for naught as they never score runs in support of him.
The Phillies have been one of the breakout teams in the National League this year. They went all-in on winning now when they picked up Jake Arrieta and Carlos Martinez in the offseason, and that has seemingly worked out so far as they are tied for first place in their division. One guy they will need a better second half performance out of is tonight’s starter, Nick Pivetta.
Pivetta is a second-year guy that at just twenty-five years of age has shown some flashes of greatness. He has also shown some flashes of being young and inexperienced. The Phillies were 8-3 in Pivetta’s first eleven starts on the season and since then have been just 3-5. The Phillies will really need to get him back on track if they want to be considered pennant contenders in the National League.
This article could have been about two sentences long. The Orioles shouldn’t be favored against anybody, end of story. This team is just so bad this season that I can’t imagine ever wanting to back them as favorites. I know they looked decent against the Yankees in their last series, but that doesn’t change the fact that this team has the worst offense and the worst pitching staff in the major leagues.
Barring some crazy extenuating circumstances, I would likely take just about any team against Baltimore getting juice. They just don’t care about winning, and I can’t back them as favorites, ever. So, I will back the significantly better team in this one, the Philadelphia Phillies, and pick up a little dog money too. Give me the Philadelphia Phillies as road underdogs at -103!