The Rays stole a victory from the Orioles Friday night, and are favored for Saturday night's game. But this handicapper is thinking a reversal of fortunes might be in the cards.
Orioles-Rays Saturday Betting Odds
In the early betting the best line we could find on Tampa and Erasmo Ramirez was the -108 offered at Pinnacle, while Baltimore and Miguel Gonzalez were getting +105 at Just Bet. And every book on our MLB odds board listed a total of seven runs on today's game, with most of the grease leaning toward the UNDER.
Tampa took the opener of this series Friday night 3-1, rallying for three runs with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning for the victory. So the Rays are now 3-4 since the All-Star break, while Baltimore has lost four in a row.
Big-picture, at 49-49 Tampa trails the division-leading Yankees by 5.5 games in the AL East, while Baltimore, at 46-49, sits seven games back. The Rays also trail Minnesota by four games in the battle for the second American League wild-card spot, while the O's are now 5.5 games back in that race.
These teams have split 10 games so far this season, with the totals tilting toward the UNDERS by a 7-3 margin.
Ramirez (8-3, 3.54) is just four-for-14 on quality starts this season, but some of that can be attributed to a short leash. For instance, last time out he held Toronto to one run, but was removed, for whatever reason, with two outs in the fifth inning. Ramirez has held foes to zero or one run(s) in each of his last six starts, in total allowing just four runs over his last 31 1/3 innings. On the season Erasmo has allowed fewer hits, 66, than innings pitched, 84, walked 26 and struck out 70.
Tampa is 11-3 in games Ramirez has started, with the totals leaning UNDER by an 8-4 margin.
Ramirez has started once already this season against Baltimore, throwing seven innings of three-hit, shutout ball in a 3-0 Rays victory back in May.
Gonzalez (8-6, 4.21) is only five-for-17 on quality starts, and has allowed at least four runs in three of his last five starts. Last Sunday he held Detroit to two runs, although he needed 90 pitches to get through five innings, and over his last five starts he's allowed 19 runs through 25 1/3 innings. On the season Gonzalez has given up fewer hits, 93, than innings pitched, 98, but 17 of those hits have left the yard.
The Orioles are 10-7 in games Gonzalez has started, with the totals going 9-8.
Gonzalez and Tampa are very familiar with each other; since the beginning of 2013 he's started 10 times against the Rays, including three times already this season, in which he's held them to two runs through 21 1/3 innings. Baltimore won two of those games, and all three games played UNDER.
Saturday's Batting Splits
Baltimore ranks 16th in the Majors this season against right-handed pitching with a .253 team batting average, and 19th with a .311 team on-base percentage.
Tampa, meanwhile, ranks dead last against righties with a .233 average and 28th with a .296 team OBP.
Ballpark Totals Factor
Games played at Tropicana Field this season are 24-21 on the OVERS, even though they're averaging just 7.3 runs per.
O's-Rays Saturday Free Picks
We like what Erasmo has been doing this year, but Gonzo has been tough against Tampa. Also, the Rays lineup is terrible against RH pitching, and despite what happened last night we give Baltimore an edge in the bullpen comparison. So while we don't usually like taking teams working on four-game losing streaks we like the O's today. Also, this season series is trending low-scoring, so we're thinking UNDER.
MLB Picks: Baltimore +105 at Just Bet and UNDER seven runs (-115) at Heritage