By: Al Walsh – Follow him on Twitter @14AdotWalsh
* 2019 MLB Record: 44-32-2 (58%) *
[1:05 p.m. EST] Under 8.5 – Tampa Bay Rays at Baltimore Orioles
TB: Ryne Stanek – R (0-1, 2.81 ERA)
BAL: John Means – L (3-3, 2.81 ERA)
Light rain is expected to fall throughout the entire game today, which will likely keep the offenses at bay quite a bit. Vegas already thinks so, as the Rays (-0.6) and Orioles (-0.4) have the largest- and third-largest IRT decreases on the entire slate.
Johns Means is getting a matchup against a normally-stout Rays offense, but they do have the highest K-rate (30.1%) against left-handed pitching this season. Tampa did go without a hit from the second-to-seventh innings in last night’s game and was only blanked on the scoreboard for the second time this season.
I’m usually a big fan of the Rays whenever they get to play the matchups in their patented “bullpen games.” The rain, however, does throw things off a bit, as Tampa hasn’t necessarily detailed its plan to the public just yet. All in all, though, these matchups are typically a good thing. Especially against an Orioles offense that has scored three runs or fewer in six of the last eight games.
Lastly, the weather is our friend here. If the rain does end up becoming problematic, it’s possible that the game gets called earlier than in nine innings. That would be music to our ears, as fewer innings would likely lead to fewer runs.
* Final Score Prediction: Baltimore Orioles: 3 – Tampa Bay Rays: 2 *
[1:35 p.m. EST] Under 8 – Oakland A’s at Pittsburgh Pirates
OAK: Frankie Montas – R (4-2, 2.97 ERA)
PIT: Jordan Lyles – R (2-1, 2.42 ERA)
Vegas has already spoken on this game with IRT decreases (Pirates: -0.6, A’s: -0.4) for both sides. However, what’s great here is that the game-total only dropped a half-run down to 8.0, not 7.5. Thanks, Vegas!
Frankie Montas and Jordan Lyles are two of the more underrated pitchers in baseball, so I look forward to these two showcasing their talents. Both teams rank in the bottom-third of wOBA (weighted on-base percentage) and wRC+ (weighted created-runs plus) against right-handed pitching, thus giving further evidence that this should be a low-scoring game.
* Final Score Prediction: Oakland A’s: 4 – Pittsburgh Pirates: 2 *
[4:00 p.m. EST] Houston Astros (-1.5, -148) at Los Angeles Angels
HOU: Justin Verlander – R (4-1, 2.45 ERA)
LAA: Matt Harvey – R (1-2, 6.54 ERA)
The current Angels’ lineup has a combined .169 batting average, .240 on-base percentage and .542 OPS lifetime against Justin Verlander – yikes! In fact, not one of them has a batting average over .300 in this matchup.
Matt Harvey takes the mound for the Halos, and he’s pitched well in each of his last two starts. However, one of those was against a Yankees team that traveled across the country and a Royals offense that just isn’t all that threatening.
Vegas isn’t buying Harvey’s recent success either, as the 1.5 run-line has favorable -146 juice on it. Not to mention, the Astros moneyline increase from -185 to -235 is BY FAR the largest on the entire slate. And speaking of increases, Houston’s IRT increase of 5.3 to 6.0 is also the largest for any team today.
* Final Score Prediction: Houston Astros: 7 – Los Angeles Angels: 2 *