The Texas Rangers and Baltimore Orioles close out their long series at Camden Yards on Thursday, and it's the O's who are small home favorites on the MLB odds.
Chicks dig the long ball, as we all know, so they've really been groovin' on this series between the Texas Rangers and Baltimore Orioles. Plenty of balls have been deposited in the Camden Yards bleachers already, the teams combining for 15 home runs in the first three games, and after picking up a win on Wednesday, the Orioles are in position to earn a split in the 4-game set that concludes Thursday evening.
First pitch at Oriole Park is scheduled for 7:05 PM (ET) and will be delivered by Baltimore's Kevin Gausman. The Orioles are -130 chalk at BetOnline, a fair amount of respect for a young hurler who has bounced between the majors and minors this season. Texas trots Yovani Gallardo out to oppose Gausman and the O's, the baseball betting board also sporting an 8½ run total that carries a heavy tax on the 'under,' meaning we could see it close on an even 8.
The Rangers swatted four homers in taking the first two games of the series, first baseman Mitch Moreland enjoying 2-HR nights each time. Texas managed to crack two more on Wednesday, but that was the extent of its scoring as the Orioles also hit two out and got solid pitching from Wei-Yin Chen and Zach Britton for a 4-2 decision. The victory allowed Baltimore to maintain a slim half-game lead in the AL East while the Rangers begin play six games out in the AL West.
Gausman Recalled To Spell Rotation Following Sunday's Doubleheader
Gallardo is coming off an outstanding month of June in which he was personally 2-0 with a tiny 0.54 ERA. Texas somehow managed to only win three of the five starts Gallardo made, but his run of seven consecutive quality starts actually began in late-May with Texas going 5-2 in that stretch to hand baseball bettors more than four units of profit. He'll try and continue a string of zeroes that has reached 23.1 innings when he faces the Orioles tonight.
It will be just the second time in his career that Gallardo squares off against the O's, and first outing at Camden Yards. He saw them last May while still a member of the Brewers rotation, working into the seventh and allowing three runs in an 8-3 Milwaukee victory.
Last Sunday's doubleheader at Oriole Park is forcing Baltimore to recall Gausman for at least a spot start, perhaps more. The fourth overall pick of the 2012 draft began 2015 in the bullpen before being sent down to the minors in May to stretch out as a starter. The Orioles called him up to face the Blue Jays nearly two weeks ago, Gausman pitching the first five frames of an eventual 5-3 win, and Thursday will mark his first home start of the season and first career start vs. Texas. He has seen the Rangers once before as a reliever, that appearance coming during his 2-13 rookie campaign, and was charged with a couple of runs in 1.2 IP.
Umpire Notes, Mother Nature & A Free Pick
James Hoye will complete one full circuit through John Hirschbeck's umpire crew when the 12-year veteran calls balls and strikes in Thursday's finale. The 44 year old has been pretty level on the baseball betting front this season, 7-6-1 O/U/P in the totals column and a 7-7 split for home teams and visitors. Hoye's lone plate assignment in Baltimore this season shot past the scoreboard mark in mid-May, part of a 6-game run of 'over' winners with him under the mask, and left the Orioles 4-1 in his last five dish appearances at Camden Yards.
Potentially heavy rains that were expected for Tuesday's second game never materialized, and it appears the entire series will avoid delays or postponements if the current forecast holds. There is a 20% chance of some precipitation, but nothing that should affect tonight's game when it will be a muggy 79º at game time with virtually no breeze.
Just as I did in Game 2 of this set, I'm going to get behind the bats with an 'over' play for my free baseball pick in the series finale.
MLB Pick: Rangers-Orioles Over 8½ (+105) at BetOnline