The Baltimore Orioles began their season with Tuesday’s 7-4 victory as 148 road dogs over the Tampa Bay Rays. Orioles mates Matt Wieters and Chris Davis both cracked homers, while reliever Jim Johnson logged his first save.
Take a look at our MLB Picks of the Day for more free plays.
Hellickson stingy in final stretch
Hellickson ended last season with momentum, allowing six earned runs combined over his final month of starts (31 2/3 IP). The stretch included two scoreless outings against the Orioles, giving up five hits en route to 11 strikeouts (10 1/3 IP).
The 25-year-old’s spring campaign was not as stellar, surrendering five homers over his most recent pair of trips to the hill. Hellickson lasted seven innings on March 24 against the New York Yankees, giving up four runs on eight hits, while following up with six earned runs allowed in last week’s finale against the Detroit Tigers.
Tampa Bay’s main run support in Tuesday’s opener came from mates Ben Zobrist and Desmond Jennings, notching a homer and double, respectively. The duo united for three RBIs, hitting a combined 4-for-7.
Chen followed last year’s rookie campaign with three starts in the exhibition season, pitching a sparse 7 2/3 frames over the trio of outings. The most recent affair saw the Taiwan native give up six earned runs in 3 1/3 IP against the Philadelphia Phillies, including three long balls.
Chen light in spring action
Chen settled down in his share of starts last year, holding Tampa Bay’s lineup to three earned runs over his final trio of outings against Joe Maddon’s club (21 IP). The stretch included two spots at Tropicana Field, tossing four strikeouts in each as part of a 1-1 mark.
Orioles outfielder Adam Jones drove in two runs as part of Tuesday’s matchup, picking up his slugging where he left it last year. The two-time All-Star finished with a 3-for-5 day, including a pair of doubles.
Back the Orioles as road dogs
The MLB odds makers at Bookmaker.eu opened Hellickson as a 150 home favorite, with early betting on Chen dropping the MLB odds to minus 145. The ‘total’ was first listed at a flat 7 ½, followed by UNDER wagers shifting its premium to minus 120.
For today's sports picks I am backing Chen and the Orioles here, taking a road-dog price of plus 125. Tuesday’s triumph for Baltimore moved Buck Showalter’s squad to 7-2 in its last nine meetings with Tampa Bay, including a 4-2 mark at Tropicana Field.
Chen and Hellickson last squared off in Tampa Bay this past August, with Baltimore coming away with a 4-0 victory as a 128 underdog. Chen held the Rays to five hits over seven frames, while Hellickson had a short outing after giving up all four of the Orioles’ runs early.
Baltimore’s Adam Jones has three homers as part of a 9-for-28 lifetime mark facing Hellickson, resulting in a .345 OBP and .679 SLG. Jones’ mate Nick Markakis also has his share of promise against the righty, logging six RBIs in 25 trips to the plate against him.
Look for another big night from Jones and Co., adding a cashed ticket to Baltimore’s 12-3 mark in its last 15 games against righty starters and the team’s 8-3 clip in Chen’s last 11 outings as an underdog.Free MLB Picks: Baltimore Orioles +125 (Bookmaker.eu)