Well, the Baltimore Orioles couldn’t win every game in the second half. The Los Angeles Dodgers coming to town and bringing Chris Taylor didn't help.
On Monday, the O's suffered their first loss after three straight wins and, at 57-36, are still just a game behind Tampa Bay in the AL East race. The Dodgers jump to 54-39 with the win and control the NL West.
Taylor was the hero for Los Angeles, smashing a grand slam in the sixth inning to pick up rookie starter Emmet Sheehan, who gave up four runs over five innings. Tuesday, it’ll be another rookie, Michael Grove, on the mound for the Dodgers against Tyler Wells.
Grove is 1-2 with a 6.89 ERA in 11 appearances, eight of them starts. Wells is 7-4 with a 3.18 ERA in 17 starts.
The Dodgers are underdogs on the road in this one, so let’s look at the odds.
Dodgers vs. Orioles odds, run line and total
Dodgers vs. Orioles prediction and pick
Regression is a very real thing in baseball, especially for pitchers. Water is always going to find its level, and more often than not, it seems that Fielding Independent Pitching is a pretty good marker of where that level is.
For example, Tyler Wells has an ERA just above 3.00 and had a great first half on the mound, but his FIP is 4.64 in large part because he’s allowed 21 home runs in 18 appearances.
That’s an absurd amount, and in three of his last five starts, he has allowed two home runs and only surrendered two runs.
The amount of solo homers is bordering on a statistical anomaly. He does have an 86% walk rate that helps keep runners off the base paths, but by pure happenstance, some of those solo shots will turn into two- or three-run blasts and his ERA will jump a run and a half. I’m fading him today.
The opposite is the case for Michael Grove. Grove has an absurdly high ERA and a pretty high FIP of 5.03. That’s not a good number and is worse than Wells’ 4.64, but it points to positive regression and some better starts coming for the rookie. He’s allowed nine home runs in 11 appearances, but four came in one start and miraculously were all solo shots.
Grove isn’t a pitcher that LA can lean heavily on, but he’s due for a few good outings to drop that ERA, so I’ll back him and the Dodgers tonight.
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Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change