Pitching Predictions Bring MLB Picks Value To Light For Orioles & Rays

LT Profits Sports Group

Monday, April 25, 2016 1:57 PM UTC

Monday, Apr. 25, 2016 1:57 PM UTC

Archer of the Rays is struggling, but he should regress to his ace form soon while Gausman makes his 2016 debut for the Orioles with great potential, so go ‘under’ as the MLB pick.

MLB Record: 8-12-1, -3.02

It could be a low scoring game in South Florida Monday night with Kevin Gausman of the Baltimore Orioles (11-6, 4-5 away) making his first start of what could be a breakthrough 2016 season as his team pays a visit to ace fellow right-hander Chris Archer and the Tampa Bay Ray (8-10, 5-5 home), with Archer obviously being better than his early-season numbers, at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, FL at 7:10 ET in a game available on Sun Sports.

The posted total at Heritage Sports is 7½ for this contest with the current MLB odds boards on the ‘under’ set at -115.


Hot Start for Baltimore
The Orioles are coming off of a series where they lost two out of three to the World Champions Royals in Kansas City over the weekend, but Baltimore is still off to a good start and exceeding preseason expectations already, which seems to be a common occurrence under one of the best managers in the game in Buck Showalter, leading the American League East by 2½ games over the second place Boston Red Sox with an 11-6 record.

The Rays meanwhile are in fourth place early on 3½ games behind the Orioles, and they too were the losing MLB picks in two out of three games this past weekend to the Yankees in the Bronx, although Tampa Bay did avoid the sweep by salvaging the series finale with an 8-1 romp yesterday. That was a rare offensive outburst for a Tampa Bay team ranked 24th in the Major Leagues on scoring (3.61 runs per game), 28th in batting (.227) and 23rd in OPS (.688).


Archer Ready to Return to Old Self?
The Rays may actually be fortunate to be 8-10 considering both their lack of offense and the terrible start of their ace Archer, who is now 0-4 through four starts with an ugly 7.32 ERA and 2.08 WHIP after allowing six earned runs on eight hits plus three walks in 4.1 innings vs. the Red Sox in Boston last Wednesday. We do expect Archer to turn things around soon enough and return to his ace form however.

Remember that this is the same Archer that finished fifth in the American League Cy Young Award voting last season despite a very deceptive 12-13 record, as the voters recognized he deserved a much better fate given his 3.23 ERA, 1.14 WHIP and 252 strikeouts in 212 innings vs. only 66 walks.

Also, the news is not all gloom and doom for Archer this year either despite being more hittable, as his strikeout rate is actually up with 29 of them in 19.2 innings, and his average fastball has exceeded 94 MPH in each of his last two starts after averaging in the low 93s his first two outings, an indication that his arm strength is getting better.

The “bad” Archer was touched up for six earned runs on 10 hits in five innings by these Orioles in his second start of 2016 on April 8th, but he now seems ready to return to the pitcher that limited the O’s to a total of one run and nine hits with 15 strikeouts in 12 innings the last two times he faced them last season.


Gausman Primed for Nice Season?
Tonight marks the seasonal debut for Gausman, as it was delayed due to shoulder tendinitis, and he now appears to be in good health after striking out nine batters in a rehab start down in Triple-A on Wednesday. Gasman has been effective since first coming up to the Major Leagues in 2013 and showing brief glimpses of greatness at times, and this could be the year Gausman fulfills his vast potential.

Gausman was selected in the first round of the 2012 MLB Draft with the fourth pick overall by the Orioles, and the fact that he was already in the majors one year later with the Orioles in the thick of a playoff race that ultimately netted them a wild card spot that year speaks to his natural ability. Gausman has since recorded a nice ratio of 240 strikeouts vs. 80 walks in 273.1 Major League innings with a nice 3.79 FIP that belies his 4.21 ERA over his brief career.

A nice strikeout rate with a low walk rate is never a bad thing and Gausman is 25 years old and ready to hit his peak, thanks to improving his offspeed stuff to compliment a fastball that has averaged 95.1 MPH in the Major Leagues. He now gets to make his season debut vs. a struggling offense that is batting .220 vs. right-handed pitchers overall while averaging 3.47 runs per nine innings against them, and those figures go down slightly to .216 and 3.02 runs at “The Trop.”


Low Scoring Games in St. Petersburg
Finally, Tropicana Field is generally considered to be a pitcher’s park, so it should come as no surprise that the ‘under’ is 7-1-1 in the last nine Tampa Bay home games. The ‘under’ is also 9-1-2 in the Rays’ last 12 games after scoring five runs or more in their previous game, 14-5-1 in Gausman’s last 20 starts vs. the American League East for Baltimore and 5-2-1 in the last eight head-to-head meetings between these teams in Tampa Bay.

Given what we expect from both starting pitchers both tonight and also in the foreseeable future, look for those ‘under’ trends to continue when Baltimore visits Tampa Bay at St. Petersburg on Monday.

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Free MLB Pick: 'Under' 7.5 (-115)
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

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