MLB Picks: Orioles Fly To Upset Rays & Level Series

Doug Upstone

Saturday, April 9, 2016 2:00 PM UTC

Saturday, Apr. 9, 2016 2:00 PM UTC

Tampa Bay and Baltimore continue their series and the early betting odds favor the Rays to come out on top. The Orioles took the series opener and Tampa Bay will attempt to even the series.

In the larger frame of the AL East, these are the two teams not much is being said about. Most preseason publications had them as interchangeable at fourth or fifth in the division, each with quite visible offensive weaknesses. The addition Corey Dickerson should help Tampa Bay score more runs and protect Evan Longoria who needs a reliable bat behind him because he's really started to look bad on breaking pitches and needs somebody else with power. However, Tropicana Field is not Coors Field, so keep a watchful eye on Dickerson.

Baltimore will hit home runs (four last night) and strikeout a great deal and not draw enough walks. If the Orioles are to somewhat resemble the 2012-14 teams, they need more baseball runners and make more contact to put some pressure on opposing defenses.

Check out the important pieces to this puzzle for MLB picks.


Pitching Matchup: Smyly vs. Wright
Drew Smyly (0-1, 6.75 ERA) has long been a favorite among scouts because of his repeatable delivery and ability to throw strikes. He has a tailing fastball he adds and subtracts from 90 MPH. He also had a slurvy-like breaking pitch and what is like a split he uses for change-up. He has never been completely healthy and now does not have the same bite on pitches, as noted in first start when he gave up three bombs to Toronto in 6 2/3 innings for five total runs in 5-3 defeat.

Mike Wright gets a second chance with Baltimore. at 6'6, 215, he has the right pitchers build and his first two starts were a pair of seven inning shutout stints. This was followed by permitting 17 runs in four starts covering 15 innings. His undoing was nine homers allowed in only 44 2/3 innings. Will Wright be able to make it right against the Rays or do the Orioles have it all wrong about their 26-year old?


Offensive Overlook
Dickerson has started sluggishly in Rays uniform at .188, but that has not been the case about Steven Souza Jr. with three homers and batting .389. Souza is a physical specimen with great power to all fields but will strikeout a lot. Tampa Bay is averaging 3.0 runs per game after being shutout last night and they are going to need more from Brad Miller (0-14) and Logan Morrison (1-14) to compliment Desmond Jennings and Kevin Keirmaier.

There is a fairly good chance Adam Jones will miss a third straight contest with ribcage soreness, but has not been officially ruled out at press time. If you are stunned outfielders Joey Rickard and Mark Trumbo are leading the offense for Baltimore with .467 batting averages, you are not alone. Manny Machado has also gotten off to a solid start, with the rest of the players not yet doing their part for offense averaging 4.2 RPG.


Betting Odds and History
The MLB odds have the Rays opening at -120 and as of the this morning they were up to -135, with the total dipping from 8.5 to 8. Baltimore has won 11 of last 20 at Camden Yards with the total at 11-8-1 UNDER.


Game Outcome
The Orioles have not started 5-0 in 46 years and are 4-0 for only the second time in two decades. Chris Davis is batting .326 in last 14 meeting versus Tampa Bay and included in those numbers are seven home runs. He and his teammates will try and solve Smyly, who is 4-0 with a 1.82 ERA in eight appearances (five starts) against the O's.

Though Smyly has held them in check, the Birds have to be feeling great about their start and after winning 6-1 as underdogs yesterday, if Wright keeps the ball in the park in what could be tough conditions (expected starting game time temperature of 33, than falling into 20's), they are 11-4 off an upset win over a division rival as an underdog and move to 10-0 at home dating back to last season.

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MLB Pick:  Orioles +130
Best Line Offered:  at Intertops

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