We got back on track to start the week on Monday night, as the Cleveland Indians held firm at AT&T Park with a win over the San Francisco Giants. The aim is to build a winning streak with another successful pick tonight, and that plight takes us to Camden Yards for game two of a series between the Baltimore Orioles and Texas Rangers.
Both of these teams have been very streaky in 2017 and have been tough to gauge. The Rangers seemed prime for an explosion going into a date with Chris Tillman last night, but instead blew a 1-1 tie in the 7th thanks to a Seth Smith home run, as the O’s ran away with a 3-1 win. Texas still brought a good fight in that one and it’s possible we get that potent affair tonight when some volatile pitching toes the rubber.
The Rangers seem quite lost in the AL West, seeing as nobody in that division has the tools (or time) to catch the scorching Astros. Texas can still turn their season around and sneak into a Wild Card spot, however, if they can just buckle down and start snagging winnable games. They could have a chance to do that tonight in Baltimore, where they hope to improve on a shaky 20-27 road record. The Orioles will be striving for a turnaround of their own, as they’ve gone 3-7 over their last 10 games and currently sit in the bottom of the AL East.
Can we expect the O’s to take a 2-0 series lead, should we bet on tonight’s Total, or is Texas worth getting behind as a fun road underdog? Let’s find out:
Texas Rangers (+110) @ Baltimore Orioles (-130) Total: 10.5
Tyson Ross (2-1, 5.33 ERA) vs. Dylan Bundy (8-8, 4.33 ERA)
This isn’t a tough game to understand. We’ve got a high Total because we’re in a nasty hitter’s park with two shaky pitchers and two explosive offenses. These offenses have power for days and while Ross and Bundy are both talented and can shut offenses down, they also have proven that they are far from unhittable. So, do we back a Texas surge because they bring more betting value to the table, or do we back the struggling O’s in their home park?
It’s not crazy to get behind Tyson Ross. The 30-year old righty is experienced and talented and while he’s been erratic through five 2017 starts, he’s dazzled at times. Ross has gotten blown up once (7 runs vs. Jays) and struggled (4 runs) against the White Sox, but he’s otherwise delivered solid performances, giving up four total runs in his other three starts. Ross is no stranger to tough parks, either, as his home park is just as dangerous as Camden Yards, while he’s quieted equally dangerous lineups like the Indians and Mariners already this year. The sample size is small, but Ross has actually been at his best (.171 batting average allowed, 4.09 ERA) on the road in 2017.
Helping Ross here is Baltimore’s lack of efficiency. The Orioles rank 10th in power against right-handed pitching, but are middle of the pack (15th) in batting average and whiff at a decent clip. The park isn’t easy and the O’s have some scary power, but Ross is not a huge home run guy and typically produces a strong K rate. He’s slowly been rounding into form through these first several starts and it’s worth wondering if he could deliver a gem even in this tough spot.
What’s encouraging is Ross doesn’t have to do this all on his own. Dylan Bundy has been even shakier when you look at his entire 2017 run, while his recent form (12 hits, 11 runs) leaves a lot to be desired. Bundy is not normally known as a high strikeout pitcher, while he tends to give up more hard contact than you’d like to see. Facing a stacked Texas offense in the hittable Camden Yards, that’s a recipe for failure. Bundy has been no stranger to the long ball in 2017, either, while the Rangers rank 4th in home runs versus righties on the year. Texas is less efficient than Baltimore, but they have the power edge and in terms of hard contact, look to have the better matchup on paper, as well.
This game could easily go either way, but the Rangers keep hanging around and the Orioles have slowly been in decline for a while now. We’re biting on the value we get with the Rangers, as Ross could be plenty fine and the Rangers could finally be due for a blow up outing.