Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#3965 Houston Astros vs.
#3966 Baltimore Orioles
Friday, September 23, 2022 at 7:05pm EDT
Written by Mark Ruelle

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The Houston Astros and the Baltimore Orioles continue their four-game weekend series in Baltimore on Friday night. The Astros have already clinched the AL West Division and a first-round bye in the playoffs and are on the verge of the #1 seed in the American League. The Oriole fairy tale season has cooled off a bit recently but they still hope to finish with a winning record, which would be their first since 2016. On the mound on Friday night will be  Astros' righty Jose Urquidy (13-7, 2.96) taking on O's righty Dean Kremer (7-5, 3.33). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05pm EST.

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Next Stop: 100 wins

The Houston Astros continue their dominance of the American League on the way to what they hope will be a return to the World Series on 2022. While the baseball world has focused at different times this season on the Dodgers' dominance, the Mets and Braves battles and Aaron Judge's march towards history, the Astros just keep winning games and flying under the radar. Heading into Thursday night's game with the Orioles, the Astros had already clinched the AL West, a first-round bye and were on the verge of 100 wins for the fourth time in the last six seasons. On Thursday, the Astros lost out on their first chance at 100 victories after being shutout 2-0 by the Orioles. Houston was held to just two hits and struck out 11 times in the loss.

The Astros will spend the rest of their season lining up their rotation for the postseason and resting some veteran players as they get set for the second round of the playoffs after awaiting the results of the first round. The Astros will inevitably earn the #1 seed in the American League playoffs thanks to a rather large cushion over the Yankees, meaning they will have home-field advantage throughout the playoff. On the mound on Friday night will be right-hander Jose Urquidy. Urquidy is just 2-3 in his last five starts with an ERA over 5.00. He lost his only start against Baltimore this season, going five innings and allowing four hits and three runs.

Returning to their Winning Ways

It has been some time since the Orioles have been a relevant franchise in baseball but this season, the Orioles have turned heads and have turned Baltimore back into a baseball town once again. The Orioles came into this series with a 77-71 record as they chase their first winning season in seven years. The Orioles come into this series a bit deflated having lost each of their last two series, first to the Blue Jays and then to the lowly Tigers. On Thursday night in the first game of this series, the Orioles got a dominant performance by Kyle Bradish in a 2-0 win. Bradish went 8.2 innings and allowed just two hits and struck out 10 batters.

The Orioles had the top record in baseball from mid-May to mid-August but they have tailed off since that time. In their last 30 games, the Orioles are just 16-14 as the torrid pace they had been on finally cooled. Still, the Orioles are in a great position to finish over .500 barring a monumental collapse over the last week and a half. On the mound on Friday night will be one of this season's success stories, Dean Kremer. Kremer is 2-0 in his last five starts with a 2.73 ERA. Against Houston this season, he is 1-0 in one start, going 7.2 innings and allowing just one run on four hits.

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The Orioles have benefitted from excellent starting pitching over each of the last two nights, missing two consecutive complete games by just one out. Kremer has been efficient and at the top of his game as of late and faces an Astros team with a little incentive the rest of the way but to stay healthy. With Houston juggling its lineup over the past few games, Kremer might benefit from a slightly weakened Astros starting nine. As for Urquidy, he has been hit hard over his last five games and the Astros have lost four of the last six games that he has started. The O's are motivated to get another win under their belts to remain in the hunt for a winning season in 2022.

Take the Orioles with a favorable run line at home.

 

Prediction: Baltimore +126

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Baltimore's pitching has been outstanding each of the last two nights and now they turn to Kremer who has an ERA under 3.00 in his last five outings. Kremer was outstanding against the Astros in Houston, lasting 7.2 innings and allowing just a run in picking up the win. Urquidy has been hit hard but has also suffered from a lack of run support over his last five starts. I think the Astros lineup will continue to struggle in this spot as they rest veterans and give playing time to their bench.

Take the under, 7.5 runs.

Prediction: Under 7.5
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Written By Mark Ruelle , "Mark Ruelle"

Mark has been a sports fanatic since childhood. He is also an avid follower of sports analytics and has used it in his own betting analysis for over two decades. Now we have Mark on our team here at Stat Salt. He holds degrees in marketing, broadcasting, and English and uses this vast array of assets to dissect and analyze game matchups. Mark will provide you with a wide variety of statistics to consider and a strong opinion in each matchup that he covers. Please follow him daily for an up-to-the-minute analysis of all the important games.