The Baltimore Orioles will host the Chicago White Sox in the three game series opener Friday night from Oriole Park at Camden Yards. The White Sox will send 36-year old right-hander James Shields to the mound, and the Orioles will give the call to 22-year old right-hander Luis Ortiz. The season-series is currently tied two games apiece.
Shields Serves Up Six Runs in 16th Loss of Season
James Shields will get the nod for the 32nd time of the season, hoping to avoid his 17th loss of the year. Shields was roughed up in his latest effort, squandering six runs in 4.1 innings against the Angels, leading to another loss to drop his record to 6-16. The veteran right-hander has pitched reasonably well recently with the exception of a few outings, and he enters this one with a 4.58 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP in 186.2 innings of work on the year. Shields held the Orioles to only two runs in seven innings in a 3-2 White Sox win in his lone matchup this season, and he stands at 11-8 with a solid 3.85 ERA in 28 career starts against Baltimore.
Jose Abreu has collected three hits in three games since returning from the DL earlier this week. The 31-year old slugger is the best hitter on this young White Sox team, registering a .270 average with 22 homers and 78 RBI’s in 125 games. Abreu is a solid 6 for 18 with four doubles and two RBI’s against the Orioles this season. The White Sox are scoring an average of 4.11 runs per game, ranking them 23rd in the Majors. The Chicago pitching staff possesses a weak 4.77 team ERA, pegging them 25th in the Major Leagues.
Ortiz Attempts to Rebound from Rough Debut
Luis Ortiz will make his second appearance and first career Major League start in this one. Ortiz had a rough Major League debut, conceding three runs in 0.2 innings against the Rays on September 7th. The rookie right-hander was acquired from the Brewers in the Jonathan Schoop trade. Ortiz was a first-round pick in the 2014 draft, and he had a decent season in the Minors this year, posting a solid 3.70 ERA and a 1.23 WHIP in 99.2 innings.
Jonathan Villar is the hottest hitter in the Orioles lineup, collecting eight RBI’s along with a .342 average on the month. The 27-year old second baseman has driven in 21 runs in 37 games with the O’s since being acquired at the trade deadline from the Brewers, and he is currently hitting .269 with 13 home runs and 43 RBI’s on the season. Villar is 5 for 8 with one RBI against the White Sox this season. The Orioles are currently averaging 3.83 runs per game, ranking them 26th in the Major Leagues. The Baltimore pitching staff continues to struggle, placing last in the big leagues with a 5.27 team ERA.
The Baltimore Orioles are:
- 1-5 in their last 6 games against a team with a winning percentage below .400.
- 16-35 in their last 51 home games.
- 13-44 in their last 57 games in the first game of a series.
The Chicago White Sox are:
- 12-5 in their last 17 road games.
- 5-1 in their last 6 Friday games.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
I am siding with the White Sox in this matchup. The Orioles continue to struggle in a big way, dropping nine out of their last 10 games, and they have scored three or fewer runs in seven games in that stretch. Furthermore, the Orioles have a rookie starter on the mound, and their pitching has been awful, allowing at least eight runs in four out of their last five games heading into Thursday’s action.
Prediction: Chicago White Sox -105
Full-Game Total Pick
I am opting with the over in this matchup. James Shields has been awful on the road this season, posting a 5.89 ERA in 73.1 innings logged, and the over is 4-1 in the Orioles last five games overall. I expect the White Sox to get to rookie starter Luis Ortiz, plus both bullpens rank near the bottom of the Majors which includes a 4.86 ERA from the Baltimore bullpen.
Prediction: Over 9.5
Full-Game Prop Bet
I am selecting the over on the White Sox team total. The Orioles pitching continues to flounder, squandering at least five runs in five out of their last six games. In addition, Luis Ortiz likely won’t pitch deep into the game, giving the White Sox an extended look at an O’s bullpen that owns a 4.86 ERA.
Prediction: White Sox Team Total: Over 4.5
First Five Innings Side Pick
I am staying with the White Sox on the five inning line. James Shields did limit the Orioles to only two runs in seven innings in his lone meeting this season, and he features a 3.85 career ERA against Baltimore. Also, Orioles’ rookie starter Luis Ortiz allowed three runs in 2/3 of an inning in his only Major League appearance earlier this month.
Prediction: Chicago White Sox -115
First Five Innings Total Bet
The over on the five inning total is worth a look. James Shields just conceded six runs against the Angels in his previous start, and he is having a very inconsistent season. Luis Ortiz is making only his second appearance and first MLB start, so I expect a productive first half from the White Sox bats.
Prediction: Over 5
First Five Innings Prop Prediction
I anticipate some early offense in this contest. James Shields owns a poor 5.70 ERA in the first inning this year. In addition, the White Sox have scored 72 runs in the first inning, marking their third-highest scoring inning of a game, and they also feature a solid .729 OPS in the opening frame.
Prediction: A Run in the First Inning: Yes -125