Two of the best teams in baseball close out their series Thursday afternoon as the Orioles host the Astros in a potential ALCS preview. Rookie Hunter Brown takes the mound for Houston against the Orioles’ Dean Kremer.
The Astros are slight betting favorites at -115 on the moneyline while the over/under is set at 9.5 runs. The prediction here is that the Astros win and the under hits.
Astros vs. Orioles Prediction
Starting pitchers: RHP Hunter Brown (8-7, 4.07 ERA) vs. RHP Dean Kremer (10-4, 4.61 ERA)
On one side of this matchup, we have the reigning World Series champs, the Houston Astros, who have the 6th best record in baseball.
On the other side, we have the team with the best record in the American League this season, the Baltimore Orioles.
It’s hard to find an edge on either side of such a tight matchup between two of the very best teams in the majors. The natural place to look is starting pitching.
Astros starter Hunter Brown may have the better numbers this season, but Orioles starter Dean Kremer has been better recently. He has a 3.44 ERA and 1.09 WHIP over his last six starts (34 innings). Brown has been excellent over his last 3 starts with a 3.00 ERA and 1.11 WHIP, but going back over his last 6 those numbers rise to 5.34 and 1.55 (30-1/3 innings).
Those numbers can be interpreted in favor of either pitcher, and don’t lend a strong lean either way. Some of their splits provide a more meaningful story.
Brown has been better on the road (3.65 ERA, 69 innings) than at home (4.66 ERA, 48-1/3 innings) and he has been better in day games (2.60 ERA, 34-2/3 innings) than night games (4.68 ERA, 82-2/3 innings). Both of those trends point towards a solid outing today.
It’s an opposite picture for Kremer, who is also better on the road (3.70 ERA, 56 innings) than at home (5.35 ERA, 69 innings), but he is home at Camden Yards today. Kremer is also better during night games (3.98 ERA, 83-2/3 innings) than during day games (5.88 ERA, 41-1/3 innings), and today’s game starts at 12:35pm.
Some bettors might not ascribe much significance to those types of splits, and they are not necessarily indicative of what will happen today, but they are informative, and they portend an Astros victory.
Trust the youngster Brown to continue his recent surge and take the Astros moneyline at -115 today. Both pitchers also should be able to do enough (along with two solid bullpens, detailed further below) to have confidence in the total runs staying under 9.5.
Astros vs. Orioles Prediction: Astros moneyline (-115), under 9.5 runs (-120)
Note: all metrics above taken before Wednesday’s games
Astros vs. Orioles Odds
The Astros are the betting favorites at -115 on the moneyline, but the Orioles are also at less than even money with -105 moneyline odds.
The Astros are laying -1.5 runs on the spread at +136 odds, while the Orioles are getting +1.5 at -162.
The over/under for this game is set at 9.5 runs with +100 odds on the over and -120 on the under.
Astros vs. Orioles Key Matchups
Here are the key matchups that could decide Astros vs. Orioles.
Dean Kremer vs. Astros’ righties
Kremer’s home/road and day/night splits were one of the main reasons for the Astros moneyline pick in our Astros vs. Orioles prediction. Kremer’s righty/lefty splits are also very relevant, since the Astros’ lineup is heavily right-handed.
Righties are slashing just .237/.290/.384 against Kremer while lefties are hitting .291/.359/.527. If those splits hold true against Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman and some of the Astros’ other right-handed hitters, then Kremer should have a pretty good outing.
That also means that the Astros’ two lefties – Yordan Alvarez and Kyle Tucker, the 3- and 4-hole hitters – will have a lot of pressure on their at-bats. If they don’t come through with some big hits, then the Astros will likely struggle to pull this one out.
It’s also worth noting here that Hunter Brown’s righty/lefty splits are practically identical. Righties are hitting just .008 points higher with an OPS .003 lower. In other words, the Orioles’ lefty-heavy lineup doesn’t appear to have a significant advantage against him.
The two solid starters in this game were part of the reason for picking the under in our Astros vs. Orioles prediction, but the other reason was the two excellent bullpens.
The Orioles have the 6th best bullpen ERA in the league at 3.63 and their bullpen leads the league in FIP (3.50) and is 2nd in xFIP (3.85). Houston is not far behind at 9th in ERA (3.75) and 9th in xFIP (4.16) but some poor fielding late in games has them just 17th in FIP (4.13).
The Orioles get the edge here, especially considering the Astros have had a few bad outings from the bullpen over the last few weeks. Since the All-Star Break, they are just 20th in bullpen ERA (4.56) and 29th in FIP (5.75). If that trend continues, it could ruin both the Astros moneyline and under picks.
Astros vs. Orioles Starting Lineups (Projected)
Astros Starting Lineup
2B Jose Altuve (R)
3B Alex Bregman (R)
DH Yordan Alvarez (L)
RF Kyle Tucker (L)
LF Chas McCormick (R)
1B Jose Abreu (R)
SS Jeremy Pena (R)
CF Mauricia Dubon (R)
C Martin Maldonado (R)
Orioles Starting Lineup
C Adley Rutschman (S)
SS Gunnar Henderson (L)
RF Anthony Santander (S)
1B Ryan O’Hearn (L)
DH Ryan Mountcastle (R)
2B Adam Frazier (L)
LF Austin Hays (R)
3B Jordan Westburg (R)
CF Colton Cowser (L)