For the second straight night, the Reds and Orioles had to wait out a rain delay, but once they could resume play, Cincinnati was able to even the series with a win. We’ll preview the rubber game of this three-game set before going over why I’ll be targeting a team total for the first five innings.
The Reds went into last night in need of a strong start, and they got precisely that from Andrew Abbott, who went six innings with eight strikeouts and one earned run. Last night became the first game since June 16th that the Reds held a team under three runs. Abbott and the Cincinnati bullpen got their run support from impressive rookie Matt McLain, who hit his 6th homerun and had two RBIs, and TJ Friedl, who also left the yard.
Tonight, Cincinnati will hand the ball to one of their struggling starters, Luke Weaver, who is set to make his 13th start. The right-hander is up to 60.3 innings on the year, and his ERA is sitting at 6.86 to go along with 53 strikeouts and 18 walks. Weaver lasted just 3 ⅓ innings his last time on the mound against the Braves as he was knocked around for five earned runs on seven hits.
Weaver will look to bounce back tonight against an Orioles team that lost their three-game win streak last night. Baltimore could only pick up three hits in the game, so the team did not have many offensive highlights outside of a Gunnar Henderson double and Ryan McKenna RBI.
Regardless of last night’s 3-1 loss, the Orioles have the chance to secure their second straight series win with a victory tonight, and it will be Kyle Gibson leading the charge on the mound. The veteran has picked up losses in back-to-back outings, including a rough three-inning start his last on the mound. Over his last five starts, Gibson has allowed three or more runs in four of them which has his ERA at 4.30 in 92 innings.
The Orioles team total for the first five innings is currently listed at 2.5, and I’ll be taking the over for my play which is priced at (-135). Baltimore is 7th in the league in average runs scored per game at home in the first five innings and is averaging 3.67 runs in the F5 over their last three games. With a struggling righty on the mound for the Reds, the matchup is more than ideal for Baltimore to bounce back from last night.
Lefties have given the Orioles some fits, but they have crushed right-handed pitching at home over the last month, as they are hitting .303 and rank 3rd in OPS and wOBA. With a 142 wRC+ in this spot as well, they seem primed to jump on Luke Weaver early in the game.
It also helps that Weaver is in the 12th percentile in expected batting average, the 8th percentile in expected slugging percentage, and the 25th percentile in hard-hit percentage. The Reds starter also has a 5.81 road ERA and a 6.55 ERA in three of the first five innings. With a low strikeout rate and 11.4% barrel percentage, Weaver is the exact type of pitcher you want to see when making a bet like this.
Baltimore Orioles F5 Team Total Over 2.5 (-135)