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May 31, 2016

There are two picks tonight.

1: Take Baltimore Orioles (-120) on the ML against Boston Red Sox risking 3.6% to win 3%.
(Gausman and Rodriguez must both start for wager to have action)

Eduardo Rodriguez will be making only his first start of the season tonight! The talented lefty has been out with a knee injury and while he may have a bright future ahead of him, we highly doubt he'll be at his best tonight. Toeing the rubber at this level is entirely different than at the minors during rehab and to do so against a powerful Baltimore offense makes it even more challenging! The Orioles are motivated and hungry for a win after dropping the opener of this series yesterday, to their AL East rivals. Let's not forget that these two are vying for the top spot in the division and the O's can't afford to fall much further behind. They are currently just 2 games behind the Red Sox and can pull a full game back with a 'W' tonight.

Kevin Gausman has been one of the unluckiest pitchers in baseball so far this season. He's much improved over past years and sports a respectable 3.24 ERA and yet he's still winless on the season. That's because while he has pitched well and kept the O's in most games and they have gone on to win 3 of those starts, he has personally not ended up as the 'pitcher of record'. The Baltimore clubhouse and Buck Showalter are aware of that and keen to reward him for his quality starts. This will be his eight start of the season and it's worth noting that he's fanned at least 6 batters in each of his last four outings.

The Orioles enjoy outstanding home field advantage at Camden Yards, as evident by their impressive 17-9 record! Coming off a rare home defeat puts them in a good bounce-back spot against a division rival tonight. Rodriguez is a former Oriole youth product and while he'd love to get one over the team that traded him away back in 2014, he hasn't fared well against them. He was 0-2 with a 4.2 ERA against Baltimore last year and to now suddenly expect him to come out and do better, after such a lengthy layoff, would be illogical. We believe he'll struggle to last beyond 5 innings unless the Boston defense gives him a big lead or turn multiple double-plays.

Kevin Gausman has performed well enough against Boston in recent years and is no doubt an improved and more confident pitcher than he used to be as a youngster breaking into the scene. The fact that Jackie Bradley Jr. will miss this matchup should only make his job easier. BJB has had an incredible start to the season and is among the Major League's top 5 players in batting average! He hit a home run yesterday and the Red Sox offense will no doubt miss him, especially since he supplies power and speed. He's also a top-notch defender and without him, the outfield is suddenly not as excellent defensively, especially when you consider that former Catcher, Blake Swihart is starting again in left field! The O's are at full strength on the other hand and have a history of performing well in this type of situation under Buck Showalter's leadership. 

Other notable facts to consider:

  • Orioles are 8-3 as a -100 to -125 home favorite.
  • Orioles have won 12 of 15 games when the total is set at 8 or 8.5 runs!
  • Orioles are 49-26 in home games after a loss, over the last 3 seasons.

2: Take Cleveland Indians (-190) on the ML against Texas Rangers risking 5.7% to win 3%.
(Kluber and Lewis must both start for wager to have action)

Colby Lewis may be a perfect 4-0 on the season thus far, but he has certainly not pitched as well as his unblemished record suggests! He was actually roughed up his last start against Mike Trout and the Angels, giving up 6 runs on 8 hits, but as has been the case much of the season, the Rangers offense carried the load helping Lewis come away with the win. Lewis has been the beneficiary of a potent offense which has hid many of the mistakes that he has made on the mound. There will come a time where his offense is unable to bail him out and we believe that could be the case tonight as the Rangers face a surging Corey Kluber.

After a somewhat slow start to the season, Corey Kluber is finally pitching the way that we remember from last season and will be seeking his 3rd straight victory. He is coming off a solid outing against the White Sox in which he pitched 7.1 frames giving up 1 earned run. Offensively, the Indians are just as potent as their counterparts, sitting in 4th place having plated 235 runs thus far this season. Mike Napoli is having a great start with his new team and his 35 RBIs at the plate leads the team.

We believe this is a mismatch on mound. Lewis has been fortunate in his starts this season while Kluber has experienced some bad-luck. At the end of the day, we feel that Kluber is the much more well-rounded pitcher and should be able to outduel his counterpart tonight. Lewis also has horrible numbers in his career against Cleveland, going 2-2 with an 8.44 ERA in 37.1 innings pitched. Michael Brantley is 7 for 16 with a home run against Lewis, while Jason Kipnis is 4 for 12 and Carlos Santana is 5 for 12 with a home run.

This is somewhat of a hefty price tag to pay in this matchup; however we believe the advantages that the Indians should hold in this contest are worth the extra juice. Lewis had his worst start of the season the last time he took the mound and we believe that could have been the beginning of his unravelling. Look for the Tribe to get some early runs off him and Kluber to carry over his momentum from his previous starts enroute to a fairly convincing victory.

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