Date/Time: August 21st, 7:05 PM ET
Probable Starters: Hellickson (Tampa Bay) vs. Chen (Baltimore)
Moneyline: Orioles -112
The Tampa Bay Rays are hoping to get one of their biggest three-game sweeps of the season against the Baltimore Orioles on the road at Camden Yards, and they can get the job done on Wednesday night in a crucial game in the AL East.
Tampa Bay had one terrible stretch of games on the West Coast, but if you take that out, the team is 32-8 over the course of its last 40 games. Sure, the team isn’t hot enough to be called the hottest team in baseball, as that title goes to the Los Angeles Dodgers, but this team is one of the best in the bigs for sure, and it is deserving of the title “AL East leaders” as of Game 124. The team has five games of safety right now in the chase for the two Wild Card slots, and that’s crucial with just 38 games to play. Winning this game would only help put the O’s further at arm’s length. RHP Jeremy Hellickson is set to take to the bump once again, and he is 10-6 with a 4.91 ERA on the season. These last few starts have been rough for Heli, and he hasn’t personally won a start since July 26th, nor has he really pitched well enough in a game to deserve the victory. That said, he pitched a lot better ball in his last start, as he allowed just three runs over six innings in a victory over the Toronto Blue Jays.
Baltimore is starting to fade, and it really needed to do well in this series against Tampa Bay and its next series against the Oakland Athletics to have a shot of getting into the playoffs. Now, the team is looking at the possibility of basically being done with around 35 games left to the campaign if this series finished poorly and the A’s come to Oriole Park and get at least a pair of wins. The man tasked with the job of salvaging something in this series is LHP Wei-Yin Chen. Chen is behind the 8-ball right away, knowing that Tampa Bay’s bats have crushed left-handed pitching all season long. He is 6-6 with a 3.23 ERA and a 1.14 WHIP, and he quietly has some of the best numbers this year of any pitcher on the Baltimore staff. That said, Chen has been iffy of late. He has allowed either three or four runs in five straight starts, and though none of those outings have been terrible and the team has been in every one of those games, the O’s really need a big time start right now to get their fortunes turned around.
The Rays are just playing too well right now to be underdogs in this game. We have no confidence that Baltimore is going to be able to pull this one out of its backside when push comes to shove, and we think that Tampa Bay is going to send Chen to his fourth straight defeat.
Tampa Bay Rays @ Baltimore Orioles Pick: Tampa Bay Rays +108
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.