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While the Astros managed to eke out a 7-6 win on Tuesday night, the Orioles remain one of the hottest teams in baseball right now. They also have an impressive 35-22 record at home, so losing two in a row at home doesn't seem likely. In fact, Baltimore has the second-best record in baseball coming off a loss. With the recent acquisition of Jack Flaherty opposing Cristian Javier, the Orioles have the edge in this potential playoff preview.
Flaherty made a strong first impression with the Orioles. He allowed one run on four hits over six innings against the Blue Jays last week, striking out eight. Flaherty had started to slip a little right before being traded. But he seemed to respond well to the move to Baltimore. He’s now allowed one run or less over six-plus innings in three of his last six starts. Obviously, facing the Houston lineup won’t be easy. But Flaherty is up to the task, especially with the Astros being held to three runs or less in four of their last seven games.
Meanwhile, Javier will face a Baltimore lineup that’s churned out at least six runs in four of its last five games. Javier has also endured a lot of trouble lately. He posted a 6.86 ERA over his four starts in July and couldn’t get out of the fifth inning in his last start against the Yankees. Keep in mind that his ERA on June 15 was 2.90, and it’s now 4.39, so Javier has been on a downward trajectory for a long time. The Astros have now lost his last three starts because he isn’t coming close to giving them quality performances, which is why backing the Orioles is the best move on Wednesday.
Odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook.
The Braves managed to snap a three-game losing streak with an 8-6 win over the Pirates on Tuesday. Now that they have the momentum back on their side, they should be able to dispatch the pesky Pirates again on Wednesday. More importantly, despite an injury-riddled rotation, the Braves have a quality starter in Max Fried starting on Wednesday. With Pittsburgh opposing him with youngster Quinn Priester, this game is a huge mismatch and should be an easy win for Atlanta.
Of course, Fried missed three months due to injury and only recently came back from the IL. He started last Friday and tossed six scoreless innings, allowing just three hits and no walks against the previously red-hot Cubs. Keep in mind that Fried threw 16.2 scoreless innings in April, so he picked up where he left off. Even though he just got back from the IL, Fried should have no problem handling Pittsburgh’s lineup after how sharp he looked in his return.
Fried will surely benefit from being backed up by a lineup that’s averaging seven runs per game during the month of August. The 22-year-old Priester isn’t a good candidate to keep the Atlanta lineup under wraps. The young righty owns an 8.69 ERA and a 1.78 WHIP over the first four starts of his MLB career. It’s unlikely he’d be pitching in the big leagues right now if the Pirates weren’t out of the playoff race. For what it’s worth, Pittsburgh is 3-1 in his four starts with Priester picking up two wins along the way. But he’s also given up 19 earned runs on 21 hits with 14 walks and five home runs over just 19.2 innings. A lineup with Ronald Acuna Jr., Matt Olson, and others will eat him alive, giving the Pirates no chance of matching the Braves with Fried on the mound.
Odds courtesy of Caesars Sportsbook.
On paper, this looks like an evenly matched-game. But the Blue Jays have been one of the hottest teams in baseball in August while the Guardians are spiraling out of control. Granted, Cleveland cooled off Toronto’s lineup in a 1-0 win on Tuesday. However, the Guardians still have a losing record against teams with a winning record and are just 23-31 (.426) coming off a win. With the Guardians losing eight of their last 11 games, Toronto should be able to bounce back and get a win on Wednesday.
Keep in mind the Guardians have scored just two total runs over the first two games of this series. In their first seven games in August, Cleveland has scored just 15 total runs. That should make the job a little easier for Kevin Gausman, who’s having another strong season, posting a 3.20 ERA. The caveat is the Blue Jays are just 1-5 in Gausman’s last six starts. But he’s held opposing teams to two earned runs or less in four of those six starts so that record is something of an aberration. Gausman has done his job, putting the Blue Jays in a position to win games, and it’s just a matter of time until the wins start coming for Toronto with the team’s ace on the mound.
To be fair, the Guardians will feel good about sending Logan Allen to the mound. He’s 5-4 with a 3.65 ERA this year. But he’s also allowed 11 runs on 19 hits over his last 11 innings of work. The three starts in which Allen has struggled came against the White Sox and the Royals. Facing the Toronto lineup, even with Bo Bichette on the IL, will be a huge challenge. The Jays still have Vladimir Guerrero Jr. while George Springer and Brandon Belt have been red-hot lately. Keep in mind that Allen can’t count on getting much run support, especially with the Guards facing Gausman. That’s enough to favor the Blue Jays in a game that looks close on paper.
Bryan Zarpentine is a 2008 graduate of Syracuse University and has been working as a freelance writer and editor since 2010. During that time, he has contributed to countless sites while covering baseball, soccer, the NFL, college football, and college basketball.More info on Bryan Zarpentine
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