Texas stopped a 6-game skid at Camden Yards with a victory on Monday, but the Orioles are favored to even up the series Tuesday evening by MLB odds makers.
After hurling a couple of shutouts in sweeping a doubleheader on Sunday, we probably should have expected a letdown by the Baltimore pitching staff Monday, even against a team like the Texas Rangers who the Orioles have had their way with recently.
It was a letdown and then some as Texas tagged Baltimore starter Bud Norris for four homers to build an early lead for Wandy Rodriguez and Rangers relievers. The 8-1 victory kept the Rangers from falling below .500 while the loss left the Orioles tied with Tampa Bay atop the crowded AL East race.
Game 2 of the set gets underway Tuesday at 7:05 PM (ET), and current MLB odds suggest Baltimore will bounce back into the winners' circle. The O's, with Miguel Gonzalez on the hill, are priced at -153 on the morning line at BetOnline. Colby Lewis is scheduled to start for the Rangers, an 8½ run total generally favoring the 'under.'
This marks the first meeting between the teams this season, and it's a rivalry that has been dominated by the Orioles the past two years. Baltimore had won 11 of the last 12 played in the series prior to Monday's loss, and we all know how happy it makes Orioles manager Buck Showalter when he gets to show up any team that used to employ him on the top step of their dugout.
Texas' victory also halted a string of six consecutive Baltimore wins at Camden Yards. The Birds swept four from the Rangers on his field a year ago, the totals splitting 2-2 O/U with the MLB odds in all four of those contests closing with 9 run scoreboard tallies.
Lewis Looks To End June With Another Quality Start
Since closing May with three successive starts in which he combined to allow 21 runs (19 earned) in 14.1 innings, Lewis has been on a very good roll. This will be his sixth assignment of June, the Rangers 3-2 so far when the 35 year old pitches, and all five have been quality efforts with Lewis owning a 2.57 ERA and serving up just two home runs in 35 frames.
It has been a little more than three years since Lewis last toed the rubber in Baltimore, and he is certainly hoping for a better result. The righthander was hammered for a career-high five home runs in a 6-5 loss, including allowing bleacher bombs to the first three Baltimore batters he faced that afternoon.
Gonzalez spent the middle part of June on the disabled list due to a groin strain, and looked a little rusty when he was activated last Thursday in Boston. The native of Guadalajara did manage to get the dubya in an 8-6 decision vs. the Red Sox, but was charged for four runs and eight hits, in his five innings of work. He has been much better at home (2.25 ERA) than on the road (4.97), and has pitched well against the Rangers during his career, compiling a 2-1 record and 2.95 ERA in three outings.
Umpire Notes, Mother Nature & A Free Pick
We are expecting to see Bill Welke calling balls and strikes this evening. After beginning the season on a strong 'over' run, that trend has slowed for the Michigan native though it remains a solid 10-4 O/U mark overall. All three of his games that closed with 8½ run targets on the baseball odds have gone 'over,' and Welke has also been a boon for home teams at 12-2, 7-1 when favored. The Orioles have won his last four plate assignments in Baltimore, one of those coming against the Rangers in 2013.
Veteran John Hirschbeck chiefs this umpire crew, and he'll have the last say about getting the game in due to a 60%-75% chance for thunderstorms. Some of the heaviest rain is expected around game time, along with a 10 mph southerly breeze (out to center).
Texas' bats have come out often when Lewis takes his turn in the rotation, and so have those belonging to his opponents. I'm liking the 'over' for my free MLB pick.
MLB Pick: Rangers-Orioles Over 8½ (-115) at BetOnline