The Atlanta Braves and Baltimore Orioles will conclude their three-game series on Wednesday at Camden Yards. The two teams met for the first time since 2018 on Monday, and the Orioles welcomed the Braves to town with a 14-1 beat down. The Orioles jumped out to a 10-0 lead with a nine-run third inning and never looked back.
On the season, the Braves are currently first in the NL East with a 28-20 record and a 13-12 mark on the road. The Orioles are fourth in the AL East with a 21-26 record, and 11-15 in their home ballpark.
This preview was made before the Braves and Orioles played on Tuesday and included stats that were good as of Tuesday afternoon.
Hamels makes 2020 debut Braves for the final stretchCole Hamels, a 36-year old 14-year veteran, will make his season debut as the Braves starting pitcher on Wednesday. In 2019, Hamels started 27 games for the Cubs and went 7-7 with a 3.81 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, and 143 to 56 strikeout to walk ratio. Hamels is 2-4 with a 5.40 ERA in seven career starts against the Orioles.
Hamels will have the support of the highest-scoring offense in the big leagues behind him. The Braves are averaging 5.8 runs per game, and also are third with a .268 batting average, and second with 83 team home runs.
Freddie Freeman leads the Braves with a .345 AVG, .462 OBP, and 44 RBI and has added 11 home runs. Marcell Ozuna is tied for the team lead with 14 home runs and is second with a .317 AVG and 43 RBI. Adam Duvall has also hit 14 home runs and 31 RBI, followed by Ronald Acuna Jr. (.261 AVG, 11 HR, 22 RBI), Dansby Swanson (.284 AVG 7 HR 26 RBI), and Travis d’ Arnaud (.313 AVG 7 HR 28 RBI) who are all having strong offensive seasons for the Braves.
2020 has been a success for Orioles, but postseason dreams are slipping awayThe Baltimore Orioles playoff hopes took a significant blow over the weekend when the New Yankees swept them in a four-game series. The Orioles bounced back on Monday with a 14-1 victory over the Atlanta Braves, to improve their record to 21-26. With only 13 games left on the season playoff, Baltimore is now trailing both the Yankees and Cleveland Indians by five games for the final playoff spots in the American League.
The Orioles are hitting .261 as a team, which is currently 8th best in MLB and averaging 4.8 runs per game, which is 13th. The Orioles suffered a huge set back when Anthony Santander, who was leading the team with 11 home runs and 32 RBI, sustained a season-ending oblique injury on September 4.
Jose Iglesias leads Baltimore with a .370 batting average but has only drawn two walks on the season, and his 121 plate appearances are not enough to qualify for the batting title. Renato Nunez has hit 11 home runs and driven in 25 runs this season, and Rio Ruiz, who has hit eight homers, leads the active Orioles batters with 26 RBI.
As a team, Baltimore's pitching is 15th in MLB, with a 4.45 ERA on the season. Keegan Akin, a 25-year old left-handed throwing rookie, will make his fourth start of the season on Wednesday. Akin was knocked around for four earned runs in only 2/3 of an inning in his last start against the Yankees, taking the loss in his first career decision and raising his ERA on the season to 4.61.
- Orioles are 9-2 in their last 11 games as a home underdog of +151 to +200.
- Braves are 1-8 in their last 9 games against the Orioles
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
I will side with the Orioles as a nice home underdog here. Hamels has not pitched in a game since September 28, 2019, and has not made it past five innings of a ball game since August 31, 2019. The Orioles are not the better team here, but they have been an excellent value play for bettors as a home dog in these situations this year. Baltimore has the offense to keep up with Atlanta, as they showed in their 14-1 series-opening win. I can't back the Braves with this much juice behind Cole Hamels when we have no idea what to expect from him in this game.
Prediction: Baltimore Orioles ML +155
Full-Game Total Pick
I don't see either team winning this game on pitching and defense alone. The Braves are averaging close to six runs a contest, while the Orioles are scoring almost five runs a game. On the other side, both teams are allowing just under five runs per game to their opponents.
With Cole Hamels making his first start of the season, I expect to see the Orioles offense get some runs off of him and the Braves bullpen that they should see for at least four innings, if not more. The Braves lineup is one of the best in baseball top-to-bottom and will be a challenge for the rookie Akin who Baltimore is starting.
With the last six straight interleague home games for Baltimore going over the total, I will stay with that trend here.
Prediction: Over 10