By: Al Walsh – Follow him on Twitter @14AdotWalsh
* 2019 MLB Record: 96-78-4 (55.2%) *
[8:05 p.m. EST] Baltimore Orioles at Texas Rangers (1.5-run line: -104)
BAL: David Hess – R (1-7, 7.36 ERA/1.51 WHIP)
TEX: Ariel Jurado – R (2-2, 2.43 ERA/1.21 WHIP)
David Hess has been getting ripped with regularity, surrendering at least five runs (four earned) in each of his last four starts. If all of that wasn’t enough, the righty has also allowed a total of nine homers in a span of 20 2/3 innings. Vegas knows this, giving the Rangers a +0.6 IRT increase — the highest on today’s entire schedule.
A humid Texas night certainly won’t help anything, as temperatures are expected to be in the lower-90s with the wind blowing out to center field at 10 mph.
The Rangers have had their fair share of struggles against left-handed pitching, but the righties are another story. Over the course of this season, Texas ranks third in wOBA (weighted on-base average – .344) and fourth in ISO (power metric – .206). If/when the Rangers beat up Hess early, look for them to continue taking advantage of an Orioles’ bullpen which has allowed the most homers (50) and the second-highest ERA (5.86) in all of baseball.
Ariel Jurado takes the mound for the Rangers, and the starter’s role suits him well. After a shaky debut as a starter, he has come back strong in each of the last two games with a quality start in each of those outings, limiting the opposition to two runs in both.
The Orioles have done most of their recent damage against left-handed pitching but it’s the righties that have given them more trouble than anything. In fact, Baltimore has a putrid .245 wOBA, .145 ISO and 27.4% K-rate against right-handed pitching over the last 14 days. Look for Jurado to get that third-consecutive quality outing.
I’m going with the Rangers on the 1.5-run line, considering the opposition has put up eight runs or more in seven of the last 10 games that Hess has started.
* Final Score Prediction: Texas Rangers: 9 – Baltimore Orioles: 3 *
[10:07 p.m. EST] Over 9.5 (-106) – Oakland Athletics at Los Angeles Angels
OAK: Mike Fiers – R (4-3, 4.78 ERA/1.16 WHIP)
LAA: Tyler Skaggs – L (4-5, 4.80 ERA/1.28 WHIP)
America’s favorite stat, BvP, looms large in the battle of California teams this evening. Both sides have three hitters with a good deal of success against tonight’s starting pitcher and Vegas believes that (or something else) could be a key factor in the total going over 9.5 runs. The IRT increased slightly for each team since the open — Angels: +0.3, Athletics: +0.2.
Since throwing a no-hitter, Mike Fiers has been solid — but not perfect. He has allowed at least one homer in each of his last four starts and issued three walks in three of those four. It’s always a tough matchup against this Angels’ bunch, but even more so tonight as six of their regular starters have a batting average that is above .300 over the last seven days.
Mike Trout absolutely owns Fiers, going 8-for-21 with six extra-base hits, two homers and five walks. Albert Pujols and Kole Calhoun both have solid numbers against Fiers as well.
Tyler Skaggs has been absolutely belted of late, allowing at least four runs in four of his last five starts. Three A’s hitters, in particular, have crushed him as well. Khris Davis (7-for-18, 4 HR), Marcus Semien (10-for-21, 6 XBH, 2 HR) and Chad Pinder (4-for-12, 1 XBH) all slept at the ballpark last night because they couldn’t wait to get in the box tonight.
One key factor that could work in the A’s favor tonight is the Angels bullpen, which owns the sixth-worst ERA (6.12) over the last 14 days. That, coupled with the ownage of Skaggs, could ultimately be the difference.
To close, it’s worth noting that four of the last five matchups between the two teams have gone over the total.
* Final Score Prediction: Oakland Athletics: 7 – Los Angeles Angels: 5 *