BALTIMORE ORIOLES (92-68)
at TAMPA BAY RAYS (89-71)
First pitch: Tuesday, 7:10 p.m. EDT
Line: Tampa Bay -145, Baltimore +135, Total: 7½
Assured of a playoff berth, but one game back in the AL East, the Orioles will look to rebound from Monday’s loss to the Rays as they try to hold onto hopes for the divisional crown.
Monday’s defeat snapped a four-game winning streak for the Orioles, a span in which they outscored their opponents 31-9. Miguel Gonzalez takes the mound for Baltimore in this one with a 3.61 ERA, 1.24 WHIP and 8-4 record in 14 starts this year. He has won two consecutive starts and has a 2.79 ERA and 1.29 WHIP in his past three outings. He faces Tampa Bay ace James Shields who has a 3.62 ERA and 1.21 WHIP this year as he has worked his way to a 15-9 record. The Rays are 21-11 when Shields pitches this year and what makes him so difficult to beat is not only does he go deep into games, with 6.8 innings per start, but the opposing hitters get no break because of the bullpen’s dominance. Shields is 8-4 with a 3.42 ERA at home while Rays relievers have a 2.27 ERA and 0.98 WHIP at home this year. Take TAMPA BAY to win another one here.
This three-star FoxSheets trend also backs the Rays:
Play On - Home teams when the money line is +125 to -125 (TAMPA BAY) - below average hitting team (AVG <=.265) against a good starting pitcher (ERA <=4.20) -AL, with a hot starting pitcher- WHIP <= 1.000 over his last 5 starts. (48-18 over the last 5 seasons.) (72.7%, +30.8 units. Rating = 3*).
Baltimore enters this game 9-7 against the Rays this season. Gonzalez has started three of those games, with the team going 2-1 and winning his past two in which he combined for 13 innings and just two runs. In the start prior to that, however, he was clobbered for seven earned in 2.2 innings on July 25. Gonzalez, who has led his team to an 8-2 record in his past 10 starts, averages a respectable 6.2 innings per start, and has the support of Baltimore’s bullpen that has a 3.02 ERA and 1.22 WHIP. But the bullpen won’t be able to do anything if he implodes like he did in that first start.
Shields has always enjoyed pitching against Baltimore with a 9-6 record (team 13-10) and 3.70 ERA in his career. Shields is coming off a no-decision, but has pitched well to end the season with 2.21 ERA and 3-1 record (team 4-1) in five September starts, a span in which he limited opposing hitters to a .195 batting average. And he has been remarkably steady, having given up four runs just once since July 31, a span of 11 outings.