Rangers Are Right MLB Pick To Defend Home Against Orioles

Drew Martin

Thursday, April 14, 2016 5:36 PM GMT

While the Orioles have the best record in the AL and are tied for the best in all of baseball, a tough travel spot and a few metrics makes the Rangers the smart MLB Pick.

Baltimore Orioles vs. Texas Rangers (-110)
The Baltimore Orioles head west tonight to take on the Texas Rangers in a matchup that promises to be the team’s toughest test to date of the 2016 season. The O’s will be facing the defending American League West champions at The Metroplex with a slew of left-handed starters set to take the hill. While this projects to be a great series, tonight’s matchup takes top billing as two of the top pitchers each team has to offer take the hill. The Orioles have the best record in the AL and are tied for the best record in all of baseball, but a tough travel spot and a few matchup metrics make the 5-5 Rangers the smart MLB pick.

 

Baltimore Orioles
The O’s offense has been prolific of late and has pushed across 40 runs on the way to the franchise's first 7-0 start since becoming the Baltimore Orioles in 1954. The team has parked 14 homeruns over a seven-game stretch with former Ranger, and Texas native, Chris Davis accounting for four with nine RBIs during that span, and Manny Machado logging three while batting .441 over an eight-game hitting streak. Considering the offensive numbers, it would be foolish to bet against the hot bats, right? Perhaps not.

The O’s will send Chris Tillman to the mound in the opening matchup of the series. Tillman performed well in his first start, allowing a run and four hits over five innings in Friday's 6-1 win over Tampa Bay, but he will face a step up in class as he goes from facing one of the least productive lineups in the American League to facing this Rangers 1 through 9 in their home ballpark.

Texas Rangers
On top of having to deal with a tough travel spot, coming off a long flight and a short turnaround, the Orioles now have to gear up for Cole Hamels (2-0, 2.08 ERA), who is 9-0 with a 2.96 ERA in 11 regular-season starts dating back to Aug. 23. In fact, the Rangers haven’t lost any of the south paw’s last 12 regular season appearances. The three-time All-Star dominated the Orioles in a 4-1 victory in Arlington on Aug. 28 of last year, only allowing one run and two hits with 10 strikeouts over eight innings. Even though the O’s have gotten off to a hot start offensively, they have struggled against lefties this year, registering a pedestrian .658 OPS, raising question marks in tonight’s matchup with the L/R splits.

Taking into account, the unfavorable lefty-righty splits, disadvantageous travel situation, and Chris Tillman’s previous road struggles, last year he posted a 5.33 ERA in 15 showings away from Camden Yards, I think this moderate favorite price-tag on the Rangers is worth a look especially considering Adrian Beltre’s hot streak. He is 6 for 12 with a home run off Tillman over the course of his career, and is 8 for 20 with two homers in the last five games. In addition, Elvis Andrus was 5 for 8 in the Seattle series, and is 5 for 13 against Tillman historically.

Texas won six of seven against Baltimore in 2015, and swept a three-game set at home Aug. 28-30, so I'll grab the Rangers from the MLB odds boards and cash a ticket on the defending AL West champs.

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Free MLB Pick: Texas Rangers -110
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker