Astros Over 5.5 Runs (-130) = WIN (+1.0 units)
The Orioles’ pitching staff held the Nationals and Red Sox to two runs or fewer in three of their last four games. Somehow, they shut out Boston’s powerful lineup on Sunday.
Know what happened in that other game? They surrendered 17 runs to the Red Sox on Saturday. In fact, the Orioles were outscored 41-12 in losing four of their last five games during a nine-game homestand following the All-Star break.
Feel free to buy into a sudden Baltimore pitching revival if you want, but I see major value in the Diamondbacks tonight. Aaron Brooks is starting for the Orioles and the team is still easing him into their rotation after picking him up off waivers from the A’s on July 6. He threw 2 2/3 scoreless innings on July 13 against the Rays and then allowed one run on two hits with two walks over 2 2/3 innings against the Nationals.
While Brooks’ numbers look good on the surface, the sample is small. In his eight starts this season, he owns a 4.69 ERA with a 19.2% strikeout rate and a 6.8% walk rate. He gives up plenty of power to lefties and he’ll see three of them at the top of Arizona’s lineup. (Jarrod Dyson is left-handed, while Ketel Marte and Eduardo Escobar are switch hitters.) The righty (Christian Walker) in the middle of the D-Backs’ lineup also has tremendous pop.
The reason to love Arizona tonight is that if Brooks only pitches a few innings, the Orioles will turn the game over to one of the worst bullpens in baseball. Only the Mariners (4.90) have a worse xFIP than the Orioles (4.84) entering play on Monday. I’ll take my chances that the D-Backs can do some damage against Baltimore’s pen for four or five innings.
The Pick: Diamondbacks OVER 5.5 Runs (+105) = Risking 1.0 units to win 1.05 units
MLB First Half: 59-50-4 (+2.55 units)
MLB Second Half: 8-6-1 (+1.0 units)
NHL Playoffs: 2-0 (+2.0 units)