(John Means photo courtesy Denny Medley/USA TODAY Sports)
This is the full preview(s) as seen on the Winners and Whiners and Stat Salt websites. The confidence rating for all picks on a scale from 1 to 5 is in parentheses.
Note: The 5/5 does NOT represent the best overall pick of the day’s games when there are multiple games, simply the best pick(s) from each individual game.
When and Where: Thursday, Sept. 5, Oriole Park at Camden Yards, Baltimore, Md., 7:10 p.m. EDT.
A pair of pitchers looking to post a third consecutive winning start face off in the Inner Harbor as John Means leads the Baltimore Orioles into the opener of a four-game series against rookie Kolby Allard and the Texas Rangers on Thursday night.
Allard continues late-season audition for spot in 2020 rotation
Allard (3-0, 4.43 ERA) has been mainly solid since his call-up from Triple-A Nashville last month but has ramped up his effectiveness with wins in back-to-back outings.
Allard did his best to limit the damage Friday versus Seattle, giving up just two runs despite allowing seven hits in 5 2-3 innings of a 6-3 victory over the Mariners. The left-hander has permitted two runs over 12 innings during his back-to-back wins and has served up just one homer in 27 innings over his five starts overall.
“I’m just going out there and trying to execute pitches from the beginning,” Allard told The Associated Press. “Even in that fifth where they did scratch across that run on a few singles, infield singles, thought I went out there and still executed pretty well. That’s something you can’t control.”
The 22-year-old has pitched better on the road than at home ahead of his first start against Baltimore, going 2-0 with a 2.76 ERA in three starts and striking out 20 over 16 1-3 innings in those contests.
Means out to continue late-season push for O’s
Means (10-9, 3.55) has far and away been Baltimore’s best pitcher in its dismal season, and the left-hander looks to be back on track with consecutive victories after a four-start losing streak.
Means has gotten plenty of help from the Orioles offense in his last two starts as they have backed him with 19 runs in those games — a pleasant turnaround after plating three combined in the previous four. He shook off a first-inning solo homer by Jorge Soler to allow just one more run over the next six innings as Baltimore cruised to a 14-2 victory over Kansas City on Friday.
The left-hander spent the week in Kansas City ahead of the start on family leave to be with his father, who had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and had an estimated 100 friends and family in attendance at Kauffman Stadium.
“I really wanted to see him, and the coaching staff was definitely backing that,” Means told The Baltimore Sun. “It just kind of worked out to where I could come home and just meet the team here.
“For a team like this to let me get away and see the family — I was still throwing. I was still staying on my routine. But it’s different. They’ve been great.”
Means has been solid at home for the Orioles, going 7-4 with a 2.97 ERA in 13 starts. The southpaw had nothing to show for a strong outing in Texas on June 5, throwing six one-run innings before Baltimore eventually lost 2-1 in 12 innings. That also doubles as his lone start versus the Rangers.
The Orioles (46-93), who are on course for a second straight 100-loss season, went 3-5 on a recently completed road swing after dropping two of three at Tampa Bay. Baltimore was blanked for the eighth time this season in Wednesday’s rubber game, losing 2-0 on Tuesday to also split a doubleheader.
The Orioles are:
- 4-1 in their last five home games vs. sub-.500 teams.
- 6-1 in their last seven home games vs. the Rangers.
The Rangers are:
- 2-6 in their last eight during game 1 of a series.
- 10-23 in their last 33 road games.
- 2-6 in their last eight games vs. AL East teams.
UNDER 9.5 runs (-115)
The number fell on the higher side of expectations, allowing confidence in the under. It has gone 4-0 in Baltimore’s last four versus left-handed starters and 6-1 in its last seven home games. The under is also 5-0-1 in the Orioles’ last six matchups with sub-.500 teams.
The under has also delivered in Texas’ last four series openers and is 9-2 in the last 11 overall with the Rangers.
Rangers UNDER 4.5 runs (-121)
A momentum pick on both sides, with Means pitching well and the Rangers scuffling offensively after plating two runs combined in their last two games. Texas has also been held to four or fewer runs in eight of its last nine road games.
Orioles ML (-121)
A pick on the path of least resistance means Means makes the Orioles the play The left-hander looks to be in a right place on the mound and emotionally after his last start, and that should help propel him and Baltimore past Allard despite his recent success.
Orioles -0.5 runs first 5 innings (+111)
Another confidence pick in Means, with the Orioles 9-4 after five innings in his last 13 starts against teams not named the New York Yankees. Baltimore has also provided plenty of runs for the left-hander in the first five innings of his last two starts with 15 runs.
While the Rangers are 2-2-1 at the midway point of Allard’s five starts since his call-up, they are 0-1-1 in his two road outings.
UNDER 5 runs first 5 innings (-110)
There would be more confidence in this pick if there were a high-side hook, but the five-inning under’s tear with Texas — it is 10-1 in the last 11 games — offers enough for a regular play. The under is also 4-1 in Allard’s five starts.
Rangers UNDER 2 runs first 5 innings (+111)
The combination of Means and a scuffling Rangers offense with a shot at plus-money makes this worth a flyer. The Orioles left-hander has yielded two or fewer runs in the first five innings in 10 of his last 14 starts, with two of the four failures coming against the Yankees.
Texas has not only scored two or fewer runs in nine of its last 12 games, it has also failed to score more than three in all of those 12 games. The Rangers also got just one run off Means in the previous meeting this year in Arlington.