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#919 Baltimore Orioles 8.5 vs.
#920 Tampa Bay Rays -245
Wednesday, April 17, 2019 at 7:10pm EDT
Written by Chris Altruda

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Baltimore Orioles at Tampa Bay Rays

When and Where: Wednesday, April 17, Tropicana Field, St. Petersburg, Fla., 7:10 p.m. EDT.

There has been some uneven pitching when it comes to David Hess, and the second-year right-hander looks to make improvements Wednesday night when the Baltimore Orioles continue a three-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays.

Hess struggling to keep ball in pack, O’s try to back him with runs

Hess (1-2, 3.32 ERA) has been all over the place in his three starts, but there have been some mitigating factors. The right-hander has not gotten any run support in losing his last two starts, but also has given up four homers in those losses. In the one start the Orioles did score for him, Hess was lights out with 6 1-3 hitless innings.

Additionally, the Orioles are emphasizing pitching fastballs higher in the strike zone, which is why Hess has gotten wildly varying results in the early going.

Hess had one bad inning Friday at Boston where he gave up three runs in 5 2-3 innings, but it was enough to be saddled with the loss in a 6-4 Orioles defeat. He gave up a solo homer in the fourth and two runs in the fifth, but overall, opponents are still hitting only .179 against him.

“I think it’s proven to be effective so far,” Hess explained to the Baltimore Sun. “Now, it’s the same thing — still learning how to utilize that, because I think that it is something that’s new. I’ve always been taught, fastball down, fastball down, fastball down. Now, to be able to command that fastball up — and want to — I think that’s a new facet that I think we’re kind of working on.

“I think that that’s something that I know I’m not the only one focusing on that. League-wide, a lot of people, there’s a big shift in that. It is something that we’re looking to continue to work on and improve on, but not just be limited to that. I don’t want to be a guy who strictly sits fastball up in the zone, because the room for error up there is a bit less forgiving.”

The righty showed flashes of brilliance as a rookie against the Rays last year, going 2-1 with a 3.09 ERA in four starts. His best start came at Tropicana Field on May 25 when he scattered four hits and three walks in 6 2-3 innings of a 2-0 victory.

Hess, though, is 2-8 with a 4.62 ERA in 14 career road starts.

Stanek gets call to open once more

This is the spot in Tampa Bay’s rotation where it has used an opener, and Ryne Stanek (0-0, 2.16 ERA) has been the opener in the previous three turns.

Stanek made his last appearance Monday night at Toronto, where he gave up a solo homer and one other hit while retiring one batter in that 8-4 victory. It was just the second run the right-hander has given up on the season.

In his three appearances as opener, Stanek has pitched five scoreless innings, striking out eight and allowing just one hit. He has held opponents to a .167 batting average overall but has been especially tough on lefties, holding them to 2 for 17.

Stanek is 0-1 with a 5.23 ERA in nine career appearances against Baltimore, including four in the opener. All four of those opener appearances came last year, having mixed results in which he allowed four home runs in two of them and pitched two scoreless innings in the other two. Trey Mancini has one of those homers and is 2 for 6 lifetime versus Stanek.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

Insiders Status:

Rating:

Stanek has gotten the Rays off to good starts in each of his appearances as opener, and the expectation is he gets Tampa Bay off to another such jump in this contest. The Rays are 2-1 when Stanek serves as opener, and the Orioles are still struggling to find themselves as they entered Tuesday night’s game with five losses in seven games.

Prediction: Rays -1.5 runs (-130)

Full-Game Total Pick

Insiders Status:

Rating:

The number came in around where expected for this game, and remember, Hess has not pitched all that badly as he adjusts to the new Orioles pitching philosophy. He also has pitched well in Tampa Bay, and that contributes to the under being the pick.

Prediction: UNDER 8.5 runs (-110)

Full-Game Prop Bet

Insiders Status:

Rating:

A confidence pick in Hess keeping the ball in the ballpark and Stanek getting the Rays off to a good enough start where the game remains relatively low-scoring.

Prediction: UNDER 26.5 runs+hits+errors (-115)

First Five Innings Side Pick

Insiders Status:

Rating:

A confidence pick in Stanek and the first reliever, who is usually Ryan Yarbrough. He followed up Stanek last time with two hitless innings as Tampa Bay raced to a 5-0 lead. The Rays have not trailed after five innings in their last eight games and led at that point in seven of them.

Prediction: Rays -0.5 runs (-170)

First Five Innings Total Bet

Insiders Status:

Rating:

A two-part confidence pick — one in Stanek and Yarbrough as well as one in Hess. The Rays have not allowed a run in the first five innings of two of the three games Stanek has opened, and the five-inning under has hit in two of Hess’ three starts.

Prediction: UNDER 4.5 runs (Even)

First Five Innings Prop Prediction

Insiders Status:

Rating:

Neither Hess nor Stanek have given up a first-inning run, and both have been impressive. Hess has allowed one hit and two baserunners in his three outings while Stanek has struck out six of the 10 batters he has faced in the opening frame.

Prediction: NO to 1st-inning run (-130)

Written By Chris Altruda

A 1994 graduate of Marquette University when they were known as the Warriors and Brooklyn native, Chris Altruda is a freelance sportswriter based in Chicago. He has worked at three major U.S. wire services and also has prior experience in sports handicapping and daily fantasy roster building. Now that the Cubs have won a World Series, he holds out hope the Jets will win a Super Bowl before he dies. Can be followed on Twitter at @AlTruda73.