After a phenomenal start to the season, the Pittsburgh Pirates have now gone 1-9 over their last ten games. They will begin a three-game set in Baltimore with the Orioles, with both teams coming off rest days yesterday. We’ll preview tonight’s game before going over which side I’ll be backing in this one.
The Orioles' off day was well deserved after beating the first-place Tampa Bay Rays in a three-game series, as Baltimore became just the third team to win a series against them. Baltimore’s pitching staff continued to show they are heading in the right direction by holding Tampa to just six runs over the three games. In the series' final game, Baltimore edged out the league’s best pitching staff in a pitcher's duel with a final score of 2-1.
On the mound today for Baltimore will be young right-hander Kyle Bradish making his sixth start. Bradish has thrown 19.7 innings with a 5.95 ERA and 18 strikeouts to go with nine walks. In his most recent start, the righty had a tough assignment with the Atlanta Braves, as he went five innings with four strikeouts and three earned runs allowed.
Bradish will face a Pittsburgh offense that is struggling mightily. Entering tonight, the Pirates have scored three or fewer runs in ten straight games, bringing their BAbip down to .293, which is below the league average. In their most recent loss to the Colorado Rockies, the Pirates had just six hits in the game, striking out 13 times and leaving 14 runners on base.
Getting the ball for the Pirates tonight will be Johan Oviedo, who, after a strong start to the season, has turned in three straight bad starts. The right-hander has thrown 37 innings and pitched to a 5.59 ERA with 33 strikeouts and 15 walks. Oviedo has allowed four or more earned runs and six or more hits in each of his last three outings and just recently allowed six earned runs on ten hits to the Blue Jays.
The Orioles' run-line of (-1.5) is currently priced at (+133), and I’ll be backing them for my play. Pittsburgh is 0-7 in their last seven games against a right-handed starter and is 1-9 in their last ten games played in Baltimore. Neither starter has thrown particularly well as of late, but with the momentum in favor of Baltimore and their ability to get the job done in their home ballpark, I trust they can get the job done.
Pittsburgh is currently hitting .237 against righties this season and is one of the teams that sit above the league average in ground ball percentage at 43.4%. This plays right into Kyle Bradish’s pitching style, as he has a 50% ground ball rate this season, with 45.3% of his contact being topped by hitters. After Bradish, I trust the Orioles' bullpen can get the job done since they have one of the best K/9 and FIPs in the league.
Johan Oviedo has a 5.85 ERA in road starts this season, and his expected WOBA has been heading in the wrong direction over the last couple of starts. Baltimore is 4-1 in their previous five home games against right-handed starters and has done a phenomenal job cashing in with runners in scoring position at home.
Baltimore Orioles (-1.5)(+133)