Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#4981 Baltimore Orioles vs.
#4982 Texas Rangers
Sunday, April 18, 2021 at 2:35pm EDT
Written by Jordy

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The Baltimore Orioles hope to continue to turn Globe Life Park into a house of horrors show for the Texas Rangers in Sunday’s finale. It has been a struggle at home with the Rangers compiling a losing record right out of the gates. They’ll try to work towards a turnaround with John Means slated to toe the rubber as the starting pitcher opposite of Texas’ Kyle Gibson.

Reinforcements on the way for Baltimore

Austin Hays sat on the sidelines watching with vested interest as the Orioles exploded for five runs against the Rangers in Friday’s series opener. He knew there was a possibility he’d make his long-awaited return to the team at Globe Life Park.

Yes, the outfield for the Orioles could be complete if Hays steps back onto the field on Sunday. More importantly, the offense could jolt back to life with another reliable bat in the lineup.

The team wouldn’t commit to a definite return on Sunday, but it remains a possibility for the 25-year-old right fielder. If not Sunday, he’s expected to return in time for Tuesday’s road meeting with the Miami Marlins.

So help is on the way.

Staring down the Rangers seems like the perfect warmup to what will be a tough defensive test against the Marlins. The Orioles opened up with five runs in the opener against a Rangers defense allowing a .246 batting average and .755 OPS. It’s as good as any chance for them to settle into an offensive rhythm and start teeing off at the plate.

The brunt of the defensive responsibilities for the Orioles will fall on the shoulders of John Means as he prepares for his third start of the season. He has posted a 1-0 record with a 2.16 ERA and 1.02 WHIP. Three of his first four starts will have already come on the road when he steps onto the mound against a Rangers team that’s clearly hitting better on the road than they have been at home this season.

Can Gibson keep the wins coming?

Rangers pitcher Kyle Gibson has really turned things around since his ugly meltdown in the season opener against the Kansas City Royals. He has thrown for six-plus innings in back-to-back games with consecutive wins on the mound. The 33-year-old veteran blanked the Toronto Blue Jays and only gave up one earned run in his recent meeting with the Tampa Bay Rays.

If the Orioles get the offensive boost they’re hoping to see with Austin Hays potentially returning to the lineup, the Rangers will need to be on their A-game to counter that effort defensively.

And it all starts with Gibson on the mound.

He’s still repairing the damage from that Royals game with his pitching stats hovering at a 4.05 ERA and a 1.50 WHIP. Even with Hays returning, there are still plenty of question marks surrounding the Orioles’ offense. It isn’t a done deal that they’re going to suddenly turn explosive overnight. Gibson is more than capable of playing spoiler in this game.

That’s assuming the Rangers have the bats to back him up. They need to show some of the same offensive consistency they put on display in the series against the Rays. That version of the Rangers is a tough team to beat.

Best Bets for this Game

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Austin Hays possibly returning would be a solid addition to the Orioles, but it isn’t something that’s going to solve their batting woes overnight. They’ve definitely shown some pop at the plate in games, including the opener against the Rangers, but it would be a bit premature to suddenly act as they’ve arrived on offense.

Rangers pitcher Kyle Gibson seems to be coming up in the rotation just in time to play spoiler for the Orioles in Sunday’s finale. His ugly opener against the Royals seemingly shook the monster out in him. Not only has he won back-to-back games on the mound, but he has only allowed one earned run combined in both outings.

The struggles at Globe Life Park have been obvious for the Rangers, but they’ll clean things up late in the series to end things on a high note. That means the bats will finally be cracking in this outing. Baltimore is no defensive juggernaut by any stretch, and the Rangers showed their offensive breakout potential against the Rays. It’ll all come back to the forefront in this meeting.

I’m rolling with the Rangers to close out the series with a win.

Prediction: Texas Rangers (-107)

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Kyle Gibson has been putting opposing bats on hush mode ever since he imploded on the mound against the Royals. He’ll come into Sunday’s game hell-bent on making his one horrendous outing of the season a distant memory.

Good times are ahead for the Orioles offense, assuming they stay healthy and get Austin Hays back into the lineup, but it isn’t the sort of change that’s going to happen overnight. The Rangers got off to a rough start on the mound in the opener, but they’ll finish strong with Gibson staring down Baltimore’s lineup. Give me the under in this one.

Prediction: Under (8.5)
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Written By Jordy McElroy , "Jordy"

Born in Germany and raised in the beautiful state of Tennessee, Jordy McElroy is a storyteller of sports, a sports betting enthusiast, and a semi-deep thinker. Being a New England Patriots fan means he's a six-time Super Bowl winner as well, which means you'd have to be a fool to ignore his advice. Prior to joining our team here at Winners & Whiners, Jordy’s work appeared on CNN.com, FOX Sports, Bleacher Report, USA TODAY, and BJPenn.com. There are no beaches where he comes from -- just rolling hills, green valleys, and all the Sun Drop you can drink.