Baltimore Orioles (30-26) @ Washington Nationals (37-21)
Start Time: 00:05 BST
With less than 40 miles separating their home ballparks, there is little love lost between these two teams. Although in different leagues, the annual inter league games between these two clubs have often been testy affairs. Both management teams have adopted an unofficial mutual do not trade policy, in a further sign of frosty relations.
Since Washington’s inception in 2005 from the ashes of the Montreal Expos, the sides have met on 63 occasions with the Orioles holding a 38 to 25 lead in the series.
The Orioles are 5-5 in their last 10 but have won their last 2 games in superb comeback showings against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Down by 5 last night heading to the bottom of the 8th, the O’s sent the game to extra innings courtesy of homers from Adam Jones and Trey Mancini with help from JJ Hardy in between. Another Trey Mancini shot to centre field in the 11th gave Baltimore the walk off win. With the win the Birds move within 2.5 games of the AL East leading Yankees.
Fresh from a successful 7-2 West Coast road trip The Nationals return to DC in fine fettle. Despite having lost 2-1 last night to NL rivals the LA Dodgers the Nats still won the series with impressive wins the previous two nights. On the season Washington are scoring an average of 5.48 runs a game whilst giving up a mere 3.68. An 11.5 game lead in the AL East means the Nats are all but certain of a playoff spot, come the business end of the season.
Orioles RH Alec Asher (2-3, 3.62 ERA) vs. Nationals RH Joe Ross (2-2, 7.34)
Baltimore’s Oriole starter for tonight’s contest Alec Asher is having a breakout season. Consigned to relief duties for much of the year, Asher recently replaced Ubaldo Jimenez as the no.5 starter in the Oriole rotation. The Florida native breezed through 6 ⅓ innings work against the Red Sox last Friday, allowing only 2 runs and 3 hits without issuing a walk. The young right hander spent the 2015 & 16’ seasons with the struggling Phillies, and has a 3.75 ERA in 2 starts vs the Nats from his time in Philadelphia.
Similar to Asher, Joe Ross is slated as the Nationals no.5 starter but one wonders for how much longer. Ross began the season with Triple A Syracuse, and may be headed back to upstate New York if tonight’s performance is a poor one. In particular Ross has struggled with his sinker ball, giving up 6 runs already on that particular pitch this season. The right hander from California gave up 7 runs in his previous outing vs the A’s and has given up 11 runs in his last 2 games combined.
The Orioles Designated hitter Mark Trumbo has had success against the Nats this year, with 2 Home Runs and 4 RBI’s against his neighbours in 3 games. Injury concerns over Manny Machado make him a doubt for tonight’s encounter, second baseman Jonathan Schoop and rangy outfielder Adam Jones may have to pick up the slack in his absence. Schoop is averaging .292 on the seasons with 59 hits making him one of the league’s most consistent hitters. Slugging First Baseman Chris Davis has had a major return to his long ball form of previous seasons with 13 Home Runs and 25 RBI’s on the season to date.
The free agency signing of ex Orioles catcher Matt Wieters upset many Orioles fans, and in this seasons contests the Catcher has burned his ex team averaging .385 with 5 hits in the process. The Nationals lineup is exceptionally deep with the power of Ryan Zimmerman and Daniel Murphy supplemented by the youth & speed of Bryce Harper, Trea Turner and the in form Anthony Rendon. Zimmerman in particular has been a major force this season with an NL leading 17 Home Runs , tied in with 75 hits and 25 RBI’s.
Having opened at 1.75 , the Nats have moved into 1.67 at the time of publishing. If they can get a couple of relatively damage free innings out of Joe Ross the Nationals will be confident of success tonight. The total opened at 9.5 and has seen a slight bump south to 9.0.
NOTABLE BETTING TRENDS
- Orioles are 5-2 in their last 7 overall.
- Orioles are 0-5 in their last 5 road games.
- Nationals are 9-3 in their last 12 home games.
- Over is 6-2 in Orioles last 8 overall.
- Over is 5-1 in Orioles last 6 games vs. a right-handed starter.
- Over is 6-0-1 in Ross’ last 7 home starts.
- Over is 12-3-1 in Ross’ last 16 starts on grass.
- Over is 9-2-1 in the last 12 meetings in Washington.
- Over is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings.
Cubs pitcher John Lackey decided to have one of his poorer nights on the mound last night surrendering 5 runs to a hungry Marlins team. Tonight’s selection is one of a more confident nature. Runs and lots of them is my gut feeling in DC tonight as two no.5 pitchers and potent batting lineups collide. As mentioned above the Over is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings between these teams, and has cashed in 6 of the last 8 for the O’s.
BACK OVER 9.0 runs at 1.94 (4pt win)