Orioles' Momentum Makes Them the Pick Over Wounded Rangers

Joe Gavazzi

Monday, June 29, 2015 2:14 PM GMT

As part of Monday's shortened MLB slate, the Texas Rangers will face the Orioles in Baltimore. The Money Line MLB odds are pricing the home team around -130 and the total opened at 8.5.

Texas Rangers (W. Rodriguez) vs. Baltimore Orioles (B. Norris) 7:05 ET
The Texas Rangers limp into Baltimore for the 1st of this early week series following a narrow 2-3 loss at Toronto on Sunday.  They will be facing a Baltimore Orioles team, who just swept Cleveland on this field, including a pair of shut-out victories by a combined count of 12-0 yesterday.  YTD numbers clearly point to Rodriguez over Norris in this matchup.  But, a closer look at the current form of these two starters tells us why this Hidden Gem MLB pick is a great example of why current form often takes precedence over YTD numbers, as we approach the mid-way point of the season.

An 8-16 start for Texas was no surprise for most.  An injury-plagued 2014 dropped them to the nadir of their discontent.  It appeared as if Texas may be on the verge of duplicating that drastic season.  Then the Rangers came alive, winning 29 of their next 44 games to move into contention in the competitive AL West Division.  But, the bottom has fallen out for Texas once again, as a 1-7 slide, in which they have averaged just 2.9 RPG has dropped Texas to 38-38, 5 games behind Houston for the Division lead.  Tonight’s starter, Wandy Rodriguez, has a long history of a solid home/road dichotomy, regardless of the team for whom he has pitched.  That is why it is so shocking to note that Texas has won 6/7 Rodriguez’ road starts, in which he has a 1.09 WHIP.   But, if the most recent start by Wandy Rod is any indication, those chickens are about to come home to roost.  In his previous outing, Rodriguez allowed 8 runs on 11 hits in an 8-2 loss to Oakland.  Wandy Rod has been known to go “south” quickly!  With an expected return to his mediocre road form, the Baltimore bats could have a big night.

Baltimore was underperforming at 23-29, failing to perform to their batting potential.  Since that time, the Birds have gone 18-5, outscoring foes 117-65.  With an 11-1 recent series record, there is clearly precedence for Baltimore to capture the first game of this series.  Key to that victory could well be the slants of tonight’s starter, Bud Norris. Battling bronchitis for the 1st 6 weeks of the season, Norris posted a 9.88 ERA in 6 starts, allowing 30 runs in 27 1/3 IP.  Since returning from the Disabled List, however, Norris has been a far different pitcher.  Forget those YTD numbers which show that Norris is 2-6 with a 6.70 ERA and a 1.61 WHIP.  In his 4 recent starts, spanning 22 1/3 IP, Norris has allowed just 7 runs with a 17/5 K/BB.  

Team form clearly favors Baltimore over Texas in this one.  And if today’s starters follow their current form and return to lifetime patterns, which show a distinct home/road dichotomy for each, then this should result in a clear winner.

MLB Picks: Take Baltimore Orioles -133 at YouWager