Texas Rangers vs. Baltimore Orioles: Predictions, Odds, Best Bets, Starting Lineups for ALDS Game 2 (10/8/23)
The Rangers and Orioles face off in Game 2 of their best-of-five ALDS series on Sunday afternoon at 4:04pm ET. The Rangers have a 1-0 series lead after taking the first game 3-2 yesterday.
The Orioles are the betting favorites at -120 on the moneyline, while the over/under is set at 7.5 runs. This article provides Rangers vs. Orioles Game 2 analysis, predictions and best bets including a recommendation to bet on the Orioles moneyline.
Rangers vs. Orioles Prediction
Starting pitchers: LHP Jordan Montgomery (10-11, 3.20 ERA) vs. RHP Grayson Rodriguez (7-4, 4.35 ERA)
The Orioles may be in their first postseason series since 2016, but they don’t seem like a team that will be phased by being in a 1-0 hole and losing their hard-earned home field advantage so quickly.
They have been defying the odds all season by exceeding every expectation to win 101 games in the regular season. They will have to do it again if they want to come back to win this series, as teams that win Game 1 in a best-of-five series have gone on to win the series 71% of the time (105/148).
They have an even tougher pitching matchup than they had in Game 1, as the Rangers’ Jordan Montgomery has been arguably the Rangers’ best starter since being acquired from St. Louis at the trade deadline. In 11 regular season starts (77-2/3 innings) he logged a 2.43 ERA and 0.95 WHIP.
Montgomery was even better in his final four outings as the Rangers battled for the AL West division and eventually Wild Card position. He had a sparkling 0.67 ERA and 0.89 WHIP over that span (27 innings), which included a start against the playoff-bound Blue Jays and two starts against a Mariners team that was also battling for the Wild Card. Montgomery kept it up with another scoreless 7-inning outing in his second career postseason start in Game 1 of the ALWC against the Rays.
Orioles 3- and 4-hole hitters Anthony Santander and Ryan Mountcastle have had pretty good career success against Montgomery in a relatively decent sample size. Mountcastle is 5-for-18 (.278) with 1 home run and an .800 OPS while Santander is 5-for-15 (.333) with 1 home run and a 1.000 OPS. Those two hitters got the Orioles’ only RBIs last night and will have some of the highest-leverage at-bats in this game.
The Rangers have a definite pitching edge with Montgomery opposing Orioles rookie starter Grayson Rodriguez, but Rodriguez has also been excellent over the second half of the season. After making the starting rotation to begin the season, Rodriguez struggled with a 7.35 ERA and 1.74 WHIP over his first 10 career starts and got sent down to Triple-A on May 27. Since rejoining the Orioles on July 17, however, he has logged a 2.58 ERA and 1.10 WHIP over 13 starts (76-2/3 innings).
The former 11th overall pick in the 2018 Draft, Rodriguez is an ascending talent with ace-caliber stuff who got better as the season went along, finishing the season with a 1.80 ERA over his final six starts (35 innings). He has a bit of a revenge factor going for him in this game, as it was the Rangers who punished him for 9 runs (8 earned) over 3-1/3 innings in his final start before being demoted to Triple-A. Most of those runs came on long balls, including a grand slam by Corey Seager and 2-run shots by Robbie Grossman and Leody Taveras.
Both Montgomery and Rodriguez have the potential to be shut-down pitchers, even against the strong lineups that these teams have. For that reason, our favorite bet in this game is the under on 8 runs.
When it comes to picking a side, it’s hard to imagine the Orioles dropping back-to-back home games after the season they had. They showed tons of resilience this season, winning 6 series after losing the first game (and splitting 4 others). They dropped 17 series openers this season and only lost the series in 7 of them. On the other hand, considering how tight this matchup is and Montgomery gets a slight edge in the pitching matchup, the better value is on the Rangers at +100.
Rangers vs. Orioles Prediction: Rangers moneyline (+100), under 8 runs (-110, best bet)
Rangers vs. Orioles Odds
TEX @ BAL
Oct. 08, 3:07 PM
Odds updated October 8th, 2023, at 6:49 pm
The Orioles are the betting favorites to even this series at 1-1, as their moneyline odds are -120 while the Rangers are at +100.
The Orioles are laying -1.5 runs on the spread at +160, while the Rangers are getting +1.5 runs at -190.
The over/under is set at either 7.5 runs or 8 runs depending on the sportsbook. As of this writing, DraftKings and FanDuel are at 7.5 while Caesars and BetMGM are at 8, with roughly equal odds on both sides.
Rangers vs. Orioles Key Matchups
Here are the key matchups that could decide Rangers vs. Orioles.
Grayson Rodriguez vs. Rangers’ lefties
One of the biggest reasons we picked the Rangers in our Rangers vs. Orioles prediction is the edge they have on the mound with Montgomery, which is partly just based on experience against the rookie Rodriguez. For the Orioles to even up this series, they need to get a quality outing from their ascending ace, and to do that he’ll need to take care of the Rangers’ powerful lefties.
As noted above, Corey Seager did the most damage against Rodriguez when the rookie faced them back in May, while Robbie Grossman also had a homer and scored twice against Rodriguez in that game. Grossman is a switch-hitter who is much better from the right side, but hit that homer as a lefty, as did fellow switch-hitter Leody Taveras.
The Rangers’ hottest hitter right now is also a lefty, rookie Evan Carter, who had the first RBI of the game yesterday to continue a sensational start to his postseason career.
at 21 years & 39 days old, Evan Carter is the 3rd-youngest player in postseason history with 4 XBH in a 3-game span, older than only:
2003 Miguel Cabrera: 20 y, 169 d
2019 Juan Soto: 20 y, 355 d
he’s the youngest with 4 XBH in his FIRST 3 postseason games https://t.co/5aoIC9PvaU
— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) October 7, 2023
Rodriguez held righties to a .246 average and .667 OPS this season, but lefties hit .277 with an .837 OPS. He can’t afford to let the Rangers’ lefties get the better of him this time.
In such a high-leverage game, both teams could have a short leash on their starting pitchers, especially with an off day coming up tomorrow. That means the bullpens could play a huge role in this game. Such was the case yesterday when neither starter finished the 5th inning and the bullpens combined to pitch 9-2/3 innings, allowing 1 run each.
The Orioles had arguably the best bullpen in baseball this season, even after losing All-Star closer Felix Bautista. They were 5th in bullpen ERA at 3.55, 1st in FIP at 3.55 and 2nd in xFIP at 3.94. The Rangers (4.77 ERA, 4.45 FIP, 4.41 xFIP) were bottom 10 in all those categories.
The Orioles should have an edge in late-inning pitching, but in the playoffs it could be anyone’s game if it’s close and late.
Rangers vs. Orioles Starting Lineups (Projected)
Rangers Starting Lineup
2B Marcus Semien (R)
SS Corey Seager (L)
DH Robbie Grossman (S)
RF Adolis Garcia (R)
LF Evan Carter (L)
C Jonah Heim (S)
1B Nate Lowe (L)
3B Josh Jung (R)
CF Leody Taveras (S)
Orioles Starting Lineup
LF Austin Hays (R)
C Adley Rutschman (S)
DH Anthony Santander (S)
1B Ryan Mountcastle (R)
SS Gunnar Henderson (L)
RF Aaron Hicks (S)
2B Jordan Westburg (R)
CF Cedric Mullins (L)
3B Ramón Urías (R)