By: Al Walsh – Follow him on Twitter @14AdotWalsh
* 2019 MLB Record: 104-88-4 (54.2%) *
[7:05 p.m. EST] Boston Red Sox (1.5-run line: -150) at Baltimore Orioles
BOS: Eduardo Rodriguez – L (6-4, 5.00 ERA/1.39 WHIP)
BAL: Luis Ortiz – R (season debut)
OK, here we go. It’s time for the defending champs to officially get back on track. The Red Sox are 15-2 in their last 17 trips to Camden Yards, so this could very well be the cure for them. Vegas believes so, as the Red Sox IRT has increased significantly by +0.8 and the Orioles’ IRT has decreased by -0.3.
We’ve got solid trends for Boston and its starting pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez. The Red Sox are an incredible 17-2 in his starts against teams with a losing record, and the team also has an excellent 14-4 mark in E-Rod’s road starts over the last two seasons. Not to mention, he’s 4-0 against Baltimore in his last four meetings, allowing two runs or fewer in all of them.
While the lefty’s traditional numbers don’t look great, he is the unfortunate victim of bad luck. The Statcast suggests that positive regression is coming around in E-Rod’s favor, as opposing hitters aren’t barreling the ball up with great frequency – a lot of soft-contact hits are finding their way to open spots on the field.
The Orioles’ bullpen has allowed the most earned runs (175) and second-most homers (52) this season, and they’ll likely be needed after Luis Ortiz is done. Ortiz doesn’t have much MLB experience, but it isn’t pretty. In fact, his numbers down in Triple-A are even worse, carrying a 2-6 record with a 7.01 ERA/1.63 WHIP and 14 homers allowed in 52 2/3 innings.
If the Red Sox don’t get busy in this matchup, they all need to take ice baths or participate in some sort of cruel punishment.
* Final Score Prediction: Boston Red Sox: 12 – Baltimore Orioles: 4 *
[7:10 p.m. EST] Under 7 (+104) – Los Angeles Angels at Tampa Bay Rays
LAA: Andrew Heaney – L (0-1, 5.40 ERA/0.96 WHIP)
TB: Blake Snell – L (4-5, 3.50 ERA/1.10 WHIP)
For the second night in a row, we’ll have dueling southpaws going head-to-head at Tropicana Field. Both guys have electric swing-and-miss stuff, and that’s probably why we’ve seen drastic IRT decreases for the Angels (-0.4) and Rays (-0.7), while the game total went from 8.0 to 7.0.
Blake Snell takes the mound for Rays at home, and he looked great against the Red Sox, even after getting into some early trouble at Fenway Park. The Angels do have solid metrics against left-handed pitching, but you can throw all of that out the window when a guy like Snell is pitching. In fact, Snell has faced this Angels team before and notched a quality start in each outing while striking out 15 batters over 12 2/3 innings. Most of the guys that got the big hits in those games are injured anyways, and Snell has done a job of neutralizing the big boppers in this lineup, albeit in limited plate appearances.
Andrew Heaney allowed five runs in his last start, but it was the second time the Mariners saw him in six days – offenses typically get the advantage in those scenarios. Even with that performance, Heaney has a ridiculous 19.4 swinging-strike rate and has struck out 28 of the 67 batters (41.8% K-rate) he’s faced this season.
Oh yeah, and the team with the worst K-rate in baseball? You guessed it – the Rays.
* Final Score Prediction: Los Angeles Angels: 3 – Tampa Bay Rays: 2 *
[8:10 p.m. EST] Kansas City Royals at Minnesota Twins (1.5-run line: -116)
KC: Brad Keller – R (3-8, 4.29 ERA/1.38 WHIP)
MIN: Kyle Gibson – R (6-3, 4.14 ERA/1.28 WHIP)
Vegas is already giving the Twins some love early on with increases to their IRT (+0.7) and moneyline (-180 to -230). And for good reason, as there a few trends heading directly in their favor:
Minnesota is 27-10 against teams with a losing record this season, while KC is 28-80 against teams with a winning record over the last two seasons. Also, the Twins are 36-16 in games this season where the opposing starter is right-handed, while the Royals are 16-33 in that same scenario.
The Twins lead MLB in numerous advanced-metric categories against right-handed pitching and have done so throughout the entire season. Over the last 21 days, they own a massive .360 wOBA and .276 ISO against righties.
On the flip side, KC has been just the opposite over the last 21 days with a .287 wOBA and .138 ISO to go along with a 25% K-rate. The Royals have also scored three runs or fewer in 11 of their last 16 games.
Minnesota starter Kyle Gibson is a perfect 3-0 at home with a 3.24 ERA and .205 opposing batting average in four starts at Target Field this season.
All in all, the Twins are just the better team here and the Royals have lost eight of the last nine games that Brad Keller has started – seven of those eight losses came by two runs or more.
* Final Score Prediction: Minnesota Twins: 11 – Kansas City Royals: 4 *