It’s not often that you see the Cubs and Orioles on the same field, just nine times in fact, and we’ve got a free pick for their series opener Friday in advance of MLB odds being released.
Neither the Chicago Cubs nor Baltimore Orioles closed the first half playing very good baseball. In fact, you could say they both sort of stunk up the joint and have been disappointments so far in 2017. That doesn’t mean their weekend interleague set in Charm City isn’t worth keeping an eye on, however; if nothing else, it bears attention based on the fact it’s one of the rarest interleague matchups played.
The only interleague set being played coming out of the break gets underway with a 7:05 PM (ET) first pitch at Camden Yards, the initial mound duel pitting Mike Montgomery opposite Kevin Gausman. MLB odds have not yet been released for the matchup, but we speculate Baltimore to be around -130 with 9½ for the total.
NL Central Clubs Have Teed Off On Gausman
Chicago lost three of its final four games before the 4-day vacation, Sunday’s setback at home to the Pirates punctuated by Pittsburgh plating 10 runs in the top of the first at Wrigley where the Cubs closed as -210 chalk at Bookmaker. The Cubs sit two games below .500 with the starting rotation a mess, and manager Joe Maddon is hoping Montgomery can help turn that around for a big second half push. The southpaw joined the rotation in June and so far sports a 5.40 ERA as a starter compared to the 2.49 mark he had out of the bullpen. Montgomery faced the O’s twice as a reliever during his days with Seattle, tossing three scoreless innings.
Gausman enjoyed winning efforts to close June and open July, but those are Baltimore’s only dubyas the last six times he took the mound. He’s been much better at home in 10 starts (4.45 ERA) than the nine on the road (7.98) but hasn’t been much of a mystery to hitters overall with a .318 batting average against him. The former LSU standout also has struggled against three other NL Central teams this season, allowing 17 runs in 15 frames against the Reds, Cardinals, and Pirates with the Orioles only managing to win one of those contests.
Rivalry Trends, Mother Nature & A Free Pick
With only nine regular season meetings to date, and none in the postseason, this can’t really be called a rivalry. The Cubs have a 6-3 lead in the series after sweeping three from the Orioles in Chicago three years ago. It has been 14 years since the clubs met in Baltimore, the Cubs winning two of those and ‘under’ bettors also cashing twice.
There is some rain in the Baltimore forecast for Friday, so get an update before getting down on a wager. I’ve got to believe Chicago will come out of the break on a mission, so let’s back the visitors on a plus line for our free baseball pick.
My Free MLB Pick: No lines yet, But Cubs as Underdogs
Season: 45-48 (-1.61)