A straight-up win for the Twins on Wednesday night only leaves small regret that we didn’t sprinkle just a little bit on that juicy moneyline. But another win has us in position to get back into the positives with a continued burst at the end of August. Tonight the Baltimore Orioles continue their all-important road trip by beginning an especially crucial series with the Texas Rangers. Texas has really surprised some this year after finishing 2014 with the worst record in baseball. The Rangers are four games over .500 and hold onto the second spot in the American League wildcard – a half game ahead of both the Twins and Angels with Baltimore lurking just 2.5 back. Looking up at three teams ahead of them for the second spot in the wildcard, the Orioles are feeling like it’s now or never for them.
After starting the year in the bullpen, Kevin Gausman has 10 starts under his belt and has just about maintained his 4.30 ERA. If you look at his game log, Gausman struggled in two starts – surrendering a combined 13 runs but otherwise has been pretty much good for a quality start. The hard-throwing youngster has also compiled a WHIP of just 1.13, which is the number I’m more focused on as an indicator of what he can do against Texas tonight. He’s given up just 66 hits in over 73 innings, which speaks to the type of stuff he’s working with and his last three starts have all looked good. He’s gone 20 innings and allowed only 8 runs. All in all, his ERA and certainly his 2-5 record are a little misleading and I think in a game the Orioles really want to have, we’ll see Gausman at his best.
Just about all of the same can be said for Texas’ starter Cole Hamels. He’s fired two straight quality starts and still has that WHIP in the low-1.20s. In a spot where he’ll also be a little extra focused to be at his best, I would expect no less than six pretty good innings from the man. The two offenses are pretty good; and they get to swing it in a hitter-friendly ballpark. But the magnitude of this one calls for a pitcher’s duel and both starters are up for the task. We’re looking at a 5-2 type of ballgame but let’s just play this one for half a unit.
Free Pick: Under 8.5 -110
YTD: 19-16-4 -0.51
2014: 45-28-3 +9.02