For the first time since 2014, postseason baseball is back at Camden Yards. The Orioles are hosting the Rangers in Game 1 of the ALDS on Saturday, and they enter favored at -148 on the moneyline. Kyle Bradish and Andrew Heaney are in line to start, with Heaney likely giving way to Dane Dunning early.
Let’s make predictions for Saturday’s Game 1 and break down why the Orioles’ secret might not even be on the field.
Rangers vs. Orioles Prediction ALDS Game 1
The crowd at Citizens Bank Park clearly had an effect on the Phillies in their series against the Marlins. Don’t be surprised if Camden Yards has a similar effect on the Orioles. All signs point to the crowd being unbelievable in Saturday’s Game 1, which is the first postseason game in Baltimore since 2014. It’s different than what the Rangers dealt with in Tampa, and that could mean something.
On the field, these are two pretty evenly matched offenses. Rust is a concern for the Orioles, but youth and energy should be able to make up for some of those issues. On the mound, Bradish has been difficult to beat over the last two months and could be a force for the Orioles as long as a bit of extra rest doesn’t throw him off.
You have to also be a bit concerned about what’s been a bad Rangers bullpen on the road in a raucous environment. Texas didn’t put its bullpen in much of a position to blow any games in Tampa, but the chances of the Rangers pulling away from the Orioles early seem unlikely.
With the energy behind the Orioles and the pitching advantage in their favor, the pick is Baltimore in Game 1.
Rangers vs. Orioles Prediction: Orioles Moneyline (-148)
Rangers vs. Orioles Best Odds
The Orioles are home favorites at -148 on the moneyline. The over/under is 8 runs
This series is the biggest tossup, according to the odds, but the Orioles get the nod at home in Game 1. The Rangers won’t have Jordan Montgomery or Nathan Eovaldi ready to pitch, so the pitching advantage with Bradish on the mound for Baltimore could be meaningful.
Rangers vs. Orioles Key Matchups
Here are the key matchups that could decide Rangers vs. Orioles Game 1.
Kyle Bradish vs. Rust
There were few better pitchers than Bradish down the stretch. He posted a 1.87 ERA across his last 10 starts, serving as a steady hand atop the rotation as the Orioles chased down the AL East title. Bradish was simply in a rhythm. Is there any chance that rhythm will be disrupted by this time off?
The 27-year-old is actually only pitching on one extra day of rest, but he was removed after only two innings in his last start. That means his last full workload was 11 days prior to Game 1 of the ALDS. Facing an unforgiving lineup led by Corey Seager, Marcus Semien, Adolis Garcia, and now Evan Carter, it’s going to be important for Bradish not to feel the effects of nerves or rust early in Game 1.
Orioles Lineup vs. Rangers Bullpen
The Rangers’ bullpen was a colossal issue for most of 2023. The unit did its job in the Wild Card Series against the Rays, but both starters gave Texas length, and the offense produced a comfortable lead in both games. What about in close game in a more raucous environment?
As Aroldis Chapman’s implosion against the Mariners showed last week, this is a group that’s tough to trust. The Orioles’ offense actually sees its numbers dip a bit in the later innings, batting .248 with a .724 OPS. Both figures are lower than innings 1-3 or 4-6. That’s to be expected with mixing and matching that managers do, but this isn’t a devastating late-game offense.
Unfortunately, Bruce Bochy is limited as to what kind of mixing and matching he can do. If he needs to use more than a couple relievers on Saturday, it might just be a matter of time until Baltimore takes advantage.
Rangers vs. Orioles Starting Lineups
Rangers Starting Lineup
2B Marcus Semien R
SS Corey Seager L
DH Robbie Grossman S
RF Adolis Garcia R
1B Nathaniel Lowe L
C Jonah Heim S
CF Leody Taveras S
3B Josh Jung R
LF Evan Carter L
Orioles Starting Lineup
SS Gunnar Henderson L
C Adley Rutschman S
RF Anthony Santander S
1B Ryan O’Hearn L
RF Aaron Hicks S
CF Cedric Mullins L
LF Austin Hays R
2B Adam Frazier L
3B Jordan Westburg R