The Orioles limp into Seattle clinging on to fading playoff hopes as the Mariners are just trying to find hope in the play of called up prospects. Our MLB handicapper analyzes the pitching matchup and gives his lean on this tilt in the Emerald City.
Orioles (Chen) vs. Mariners (Nuno) 10:10 PM ET
After falling 5-4 in extra innings to lose to the Los Angeles Angels and fall 3 games back of the AL Wild Card, the Baltimore Orioles continue their East Coast swing with the first game of their series in Seattle on Monday night. Baltimore has been treading water since going on a run to end July and sit only two games above .500 at 56-54. Seattle won a King Felix start yesterday to take them to 52-60 on what looks to be a lost season. There are some bright spots for the Mariners other than Felix lately, as Nelson Cruz has looked godly during his 19-game hitting streak and parked one on the moon yesterday. Self reinvented prospect, Jesus Montero, has also breathed some life into the club since being recalled from AAA, and went yard yesterday as well. It will be another good day for both of these teams to hit in Seattle, with the temp expected to be 85 F today with a slight breeze towards the outfield.
Wei-Yin Chen was a model of consistency for the Orioles before the All-Star Break, posting a 2.78 ERA but only earning a 4-5 record. You knew what you were going to get, six to eight innings pitched while giving up three runs or less. This year’s win-loss record has little to do with Chen’s performance on the mound now that I look at it. This consistency has followed Chen for most of his career and his 2012-2014 seasons are very similar to how this one is going. So much so that his recent struggles after the All-Star Break has simply served to get him back to his career averages. With that in mind, Chen is going to have to have some more sub-par performances to bring him back to the mean. And this is likely, given that Chen often fades down the stretch in August and September. His career ERA’s in those later months is almost a full run higher than his May-July averages, and he has a losing record in both.
Seattle Mariner starter Vidal Nuno has also been consistent in the bullpen for the Mariners this year, and this has earned him a spot in the rotation in place of recently traded J.A. Happ. His first start didn’t go well even though the Mariners ended up winning the game. In that start on August 4th in Colorado, Nuno lasted only 3.2 innings while giving up 2 HR and walking two. He will have to go farther than that today for the Mariners to have a chance at winning this game. After being the rock of the 2014 team, the 2015 Mariner bullpen has been downright awful. Now, they aren’t exactly rock bottom in every statistical category, but their collective win-loss record for relievers is 12-26. That is by far the worst W-L record for a bullpen in the league. It also means that starting pitching has handed the bullpen a chance to win the game for them to rack up that many losses. Seattle has the most extra inning games of anyone in the MLB this year at 17, and has lost a majority of them.
Baseball Betting Verdict
Odds on this matchup opened with the Orioles favored on the road slightly at -115 at Bovada. You can get a run and a half with the home dog for only -155 at sites such as Pinnacle. The O/U run total is listed at 7.5 at multiple books and that is where my lean is. Chen has been pretty bad since the All-Star Break and Nuno will be on a pitch limit so the Mariner's bullpen should get some action. Both of these scenarios, and the weather, should lead to some offense on Monday night which is why I am taking over 7.5 runs as my Monday MLB Pick.
MLB Pick: Over 7.5 at Bovada