Rays vs. Orioles MLB Picks: Tampa Bay's Superior Pitching Will Be the Difference

Ross Benjamin

Thursday, April 30, 2015 11:51 PM GMT

Our MLB consultant will cover the opener of a three game series between Baltimore and Tampa Bay on Friday. Will Baltimore be able to continue the torrid hitting they’ve displayed so far in 2015? Can the Rays superior pitching be the difference in this game today? Read our betting preview article for all the answers.

Home away from Home for Orioles
In a real oddity, the Rays and Orioles will begin a three game series in Tampa on Friday, and the Orioles will be designated the home team in each of these contests. The series had to be moved from Camden Yards due to the civil unrest, and rioting, that’s taken place in Baltimore this week. These teams opened the season against each other at Tropicana Field, and Baltimore won two of those three games. According to the MLB odds at WagerWeb, Tampa Bay is a -115 money line favorite, and the posted total is 8.0.

 

Starting Pitchers
The Orioles will start right-hander Chris Tillman on Friday. Tillman is off to a horrible beginning to the season, posting a lofty 5.68 ERA and 1.79 WHIP in four starts. He’s been in especially poor form over his last three starts, evidenced by a large 8.03 ERA, a 2.01 WHIP, and he had one more walk (10) than strikeouts (9) in those outings. Ironically, his best start in 2015 came at Tampa when he allowed just one earned run and four hits in 6 2/3 innings pitched, during a 6-2 Orioles win. As a matter of fact, since the start of the 2014 season, Tillman has gone 4-0 in his team starts versus Tampa Bay, posting an excellent 1.62 ERA and 0.83 WHIP.

Alex Colome will make his first start of the season for the Tampa Bay Rays. Colome had visa issues in Spring Training, followed by a case of pneumonia, which delayed his start to his season. Colome has one career start versus Baltimore and it came last season. In that outing, he allowed only one earned run, gave up just two hits, and walked four in 5 2/3 innings during a 5-2 Rays win at Camden Yards in Baltimore.

 

Orioles Update
The Baltimore Orioles enter this weekend series having seen each of their previous five games go over the total, and there was a combined average of 13.8 runs scored per outing. Baltimore is averaging a robust 5.6 runs per game, and is hitting a stellar .286 as a team in the early going of this 2015 season. The Orioles have socked an impressive 29 home runs in their first twenty games of the year, and have seen only six of those twenty go under the total. The bad news is that they’re also allowing 5.2 runs per game.

 

Rays Report
Tampa Bay has seen each of their previous five games go under the total. They’ve also gone 5-2 during their previous seven games. The Rays haven’t wowed anyone with their offensive numbers this season. As a matter of fact, they’ve scored three runs or less in seven of their previous eleven games, and are hitting a mild .238 as a team to start the year. However, the Rays pitchers have been instrumental in their 12-10 start. The pitching staff has held opponents to a paltry .212 team batting average this season.

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Final Analysis
This one is an extremely tough call. The Orioles have been displaced from their home ball park, are the better hitting team, and Tampa Bay is far the superior pitching club compared to Baltimore. The Rays have allowed an average of only 2.4 runs per outing during their previous seven games. The Orioles have allowed an average of 6.4 runs per outing over their previous eight games. I’m going to give a slight edge to the team with the better pitching in this matchup for one of my MLB picks.

MLB Pick: Play on Tampa Bay -115 over Baltimore on the money line at WagerWeb.