July 27th 2014 - Posted at 12:00 PM ET
NOTICE: Picks will be posted at 4:00 PM ET on weekdays starting tomorrow.
Take the OVER 7.5 Total Runs in Baltimore Orioles vs. Seattle Mariners risking 2%
(Gonzalez and Elias must start)
The Baltimore Orioles and Seattle Mariners close out their series this afternoon in a game that is much more important than it may look on the surface. The Orioles currently lead the AL East but with the Blue Jays, Yankees and even Tampa Bay Rays potentially making headways for the top spot, the O's may find themselves on the outside looking in and might need one of the two Wildcard spots to reach the postseason.
Ironically, the team that currently occupies that spot are the Seattle Mariners. The possibility that the O's may find themselves battling Seattle for the final Wildcard spot at the end of the season exists and we believe both teams realize that. This game could have big implications at the end of the regular season so this is a contest that both teams want to win and we expect them to come out swinging hard and score some runs. The Seattle bats finally woke up in yesterday's game. The Mariners are a team that has mostly relied on solid pitching to string together wins this season but as they have found out many times and especially recently, it does take offense to win ballgames. Having finally put up 4 runs on the board and securing a vital win last night, we expect the confident boost and momentum to carry over into today's game.
The pitching matchup in this game is an interesting one since neither team has seen their opponent’s starter. Although that is the case, both Miguel Gonzalez and Roenis Elias have shown their ability to struggle on the mound. Gonzalez pitched well in his last start but he did walk 4 batters. Luckily for him, the Angels were not able to capitalize on his mistakes. On the season he is just 5-5 with a 3.91 ERA but he does give up an average of 9.3 hits per 9 innings of work. He has been fortunate that more of those hits have not been converted into runs, but his propensity to walk batters and give up hits is a recipe for some ugly outings and it is only a matter of time before he gets punished for it.
Elias on the other hand has been hit very hard recently. In his last 3 starts, he has only worked 13 innings and has given up 12 earned runs. He has a 4.34 ERA on the season but over his last 3 starts we have seen that balloon up to a whopping 7.91! For a rookie pitcher, his recent outings could have hurt his confidence more so than they would for a veteran and that could play a part today. Like his counterpart Gonzalez, Elias also struggles with walking a higher than average amount of batters. The youngster has good stuff but his decision making is questionable at times and against a power lineup like the Orioles, he is one mistake away from a decisive home-run and running up the score.
Walking batters is a big problem and arguably one of the worst things a pitcher can do against a team like Baltimore. We have seen many times this season how a 2, 3 or even 4-run homer (Grand slam) can change the complexion of a game and have a severe effect on the total. If there are a couple of multi-run HR, which we believe could be the case, this total should go over the mark. The Orioles have been a good 'Over' bet on the road this season and we expect that to continue today.
Another reason we believe that is likely to be the case has to do with the umpire behind home plate. MLB Umpire Manny Gonzalez has a reputation for calling high scoring games. In his 18 games behind home plate this season, the Over has hit in 12 of those with an average of 8.6 runs! In fact you would have to go all the way back to June 17th in a game between the Phillies and Braves to see 7 or less combined runs.
Both Baltimore and Seattle have been playing low scoring games recently but this is the game in which we expect the offenses to do better. Many are blindly betting the 'Under' due to the obvious streak both teams are currently riding but they will likely be disappointed when they find out they have jumped on the bandwagon too late as is often the case.
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