Orioles vs Rangers Picks, Odds, Predictions | MLB Betting Preview
Mark Brown/Getty Images. Pictured: Grayson Rodriguez
Orioles vs. Rangers Odds
-114 / -106
-114 / -106
The Baltimore Orioles were a trendy pick to take a big step forward this season and are off to an early 3-2 record behind a red-hot offense. They have scored 32 runs, the fourth-most in the league, and their 11 home runs are tied for the league lead.
The Texas Rangers sit right behind them at 31 runs scored and started the year sweeping the defending National League champion Phillies. However, now the Rangers are on the verge of getting swept right back at the hands of the Orioles, who have taken the first two games heading into Wednesday’s matinee.
So with two teams currently in the top five in scoring, why does our Baltimore Orioles vs. Texas Rangers preview come down to the pitching matchup?
The youth movement has officially taken over in Baltimore. Last season’s Rookie of the Year, Adley Rutschman, is already an MVP candidate in just his second year. Third baseman Gunnar Henderson is the No. 1 prospect in all of baseball and the favorite to be this season’s Rookie of the Year.
Now, baseball’s No. 7 ranked prospect, Grayson Rodriguez, is being called up to make his debut.
The 6-foot-5, 23-year-old is the second-ranked pitching prospect and has flown through the minor league system. In 14 Triple-A starts last season, he posted a 2.20 ERA and racked up 97 strikeouts in fewer than 70 innings.
Rodriguez has a four-pitch mix featuring a fastball that can reach 100 mph and averages in the upper 90s. He combines that with a devastating changeup, to go along with a slider and curveball.
Baltimore’s offense is off to a red-hot start in 2023, continuing to build on the second half of 2022. The Orioles ranked 12th in wOBA in the second half of the year, compared to 23rd in the first half. So far this season, they have scored at least five runs in four of their first five games.
Rutschman continues to live up to the hype, but he has gotten plenty of help so far. Eight Baltimore hitters have already hit a home run and former All-Star Adam Frazier looks like he regained his form with a new team.
Despite Jacob deGrom making just 26 starts over the last two seasons, Texas went out and signed him to a five-year, $185 million contract. He pitched to a 3.08 ERA in limited action last season, but his 2.24 xERA is more in-line with what we expect from a healthy deGrom.
His first start as a Ranger did not go as planned. He got tagged for five runs against the Phillies and did not make it out of the fourth inning. deGrom allowed six hits, all of them for extra bases, surrendering three doubles, two triples and a home run.
While Texas spent a lot of money to improve its pitching, it didn’t do much to bolster a lineup that ranked just 20th in wRC+. Only two players posted a wRC+ above 115 last year: Nathaniel Lowe and Corey Seager.
While Seager had one of the worst seasons of his career, many are expecting a bounce back as he should benefit greatly from the lack of shifting. However, through the first five games, we have not seen it yet as he is batting just .263 with no extra-base hits.
Orioles vs. Rangers Betting Pick
Despite deGrom’s struggles on Opening Day, he did still manage to strike out seven batters in fewer than four innings. His fastball averaged over 98.5 mph and hit 100 on the radar gun twice. Taking a deeper look at his numbers, his average exit velocity, strikeout rate, pitch velocity and spin rate were all comparable to his Cy Young seasons. Expect a bounce back from deGrom in this one.
On the other hand, I’m buying into the hype on the former 11th overall pick. Rodriguez has overpowering stuff. Even for the minor leagues, his 35.8% strikeout rate is just ridiculous. Opponents hit just .177 off of him and he only allowed two home runs in 17 total starts last season across multiple levels. He likely would have seen the majors last season but suffered a lat strain that caused him to miss time.
Not only does Rodriguez possess a fastball that can reach triple digits, but he pairs that with a nasty changeup that is so good, it’s actually his best pitch against right-handed batters. His changeup generated a 42% chase rate as it drops off a cliff right as it approaches the plate.
Despite the offensive success early on, I am going to back these two starting pitchers and take the under. Gambling is supposed to be fun, and what is more fun than betting on the best pitcher on the planet against the top pitching prospect on a Wednesday afternoon?
Pick: Under 7.5
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