The Baltimore Orioles are back above .500 after taking two of three in Tampa. Is there any value on the MLB odds board for Tuesday's opener against the New York Mets?
Jason's 2015 record as of May 4: 12-8, plus-3.80 units ML; 0-1, minus-1.05 units Total
Things have gotten a little too interesting for the Baltimore Orioles. Thanks to the civil unrest following the death of Freddie Gray, the Orioles had to play their last three home games on the road. But they did manage to take two of three from the Tampa Bay Rays to improve to 12-11 (plus-1.13 units). That's five wins for the O's in their past six games.
Now it's off to the Big Apple for a pair of interleague games against the surprisingly profitable New York Mets (16-10, plus-6.89 units). That profit is dwindling rapidly, though; the Mets have lost five of their last six games, and haven't taken a series since peeling off 11 straight wins last month. Tuesday's opener starts at 7:10 p.m. Eastern, with Bud Norris scheduled to pitch for Baltimore against the Living Legend himself, Bartolo Colon. The Mets are –137 favorites on the MLB odds board as we go to press.
Bud Norris Facts
You might recall our early-season grades, where we gave the Orioles a “B” despite their 7-8 record at the time. They've cashed in on some of that value, and Baseball Reference is still high on their performance level, rating the O's as 1.2 runs per game better than the average MLB team according to the world-famous Simple Rating System (SRS). That's good for fourth overall in the majors.
Story checks out. Heading into Monday's action, Baltimore was sixth overall in hitting with 4.8 Wins Above Replacement (WAR), although the pitching leaves something to be desired at 1.0 WAR (No. 25 overall). That number is skewed by the awful performance of Norris (5.77 FIP, minus-0.1 WAR) at the end of the O's rotation. However, Norris did provide a quality start in his last appearance against the Boston Red Sox, so maybe the bleeding has stopped. Baltimore is 2-2 (minus-0.16 units) thus far with Norris on the mound.
They Are Who We Thought They Were
Yes, we gave the Mets an “A” a couple weeks back, and they earned it by playing quality baseball. But they were also shredding the baseball odds, so there probably wasn't much betting value there – especially with the regression monster lurking around the corner. The Mets are still on top of the NL East, and still above water at plus-0.6 SRS, but they'd get a “C” from us now based on their efforts. Injuries to 3B David Wright (hamstring) and catcher Travis d'Arnaud (hand) aren't helping.
On the season, New York ranks No. 11 in hitting (3.3 WAR) and No. 6 in pitching (3.5 WAR), and we'll see one of the game's most amazing figures when Colon (3.28 FIP, 0.6 WAR) takes the hill. He's made 3.59 units for Mets supporters on a team record of 4-1. Alas, that one loss was in his last appearance, where Colon gave up four runs to the Miami Marlins (+100 at home) in 6.2 innings. Not awful, but not good enough in a 7-3 final. We'll give Colon a mulligan on that one, as part of the MLB Odds favored team.
The Mets may be slumping, but thanks to Baltimore's scheduling issues, they get to match up their ace against the No. 5 starter for the O's. Norris hasn't faced these New York batters very often; 1B/OF Michael Cuddyer might be worth a shot at 3-for-7 lifetime against Norris with a 1.071 OPS. Cuddyer is 62% owned at Yahoo as we go to press. He's boom-or-bust at the moment, striking out 24 percent of the time, but he's also got three home runs and 12 RBIs. Getting a few at-bats against Norris should help improve those stats, and we like Colon to weave some more of his magic for our MLB Picks.
Free MLB Pick: Take the Mets -118 at YouWager