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Two teams coming off huge series wins will look to keep rolling on Friday night when the Baltimore Orioles visit the Los Angeles Angels to open up a three-game set. Baltimore is grinding through a rebuilding year at 27-54, although it just pulled off a shocking sweep of the Houston Astros including a 5-2 victory in Wednesday’s series finale to hit as a +257 underdog. Los Angeles earned a series win over the Yankees with a massive rally for an 11-8 victory as a +103 underdog in Wednesday’s rubber game, and is now 39-41 on the season.
This is the first meeting between these two teams since 2019, when Baltimore won four of the seven matchups.
Orioles pitching holds down Astros to complete sweep
A matchup between Baltimore’s scuffling pitching staff and baseball’s best offense in the Astros seemed less than ideal for the Orioles on paper, but they allowed just 12 runs over the three-game series to pull off one of the most unexpected sweeps of the season. Baltimore got off to a fast start in Wednesday’s finale with a four-run first as Ryan Mountcastle hit a two-run double before Maikel Franco and Pedro Severino added RBI, and Austin Hays provided an insurance solo shot later in the eighth.
Veteran starter Matt Harvey battled through 4.1 innings, allowing two runs on four hits and two walks while striking out three. The Orioles bullpen allowed just one hit and one walk for the rest of the game, with Tanner Scott picking up the win for striking out all four batters he retired. Franco recorded three of Baltimore’s eight hits, while star Cedric Mullins was on base twice and scored a run.
“You see what Tanner could be,” manager Brandon Hyde said to MLB.com. “He punched out four of five, and they had no chance. It’s electric stuff and it’s all about strikes.”
Baltimore has been somewhat better against the spread at 35-46, and remains down a huge amount on the money line despite being a significant underdog in the majority of games. Overs are 40-38-3 for the Orioles, including 5-4-1 across their last 10 games.
There have been a few bright spots for the Orioles offense, which is averaging 4.11 runs per game with a 0.698 team OPS. Baltimore’s pitching staff has been the big problem with an MLB-worst 5.44 collective ERA while allowing 1.56 home runs per nine innings.
Rookie Keegan Akin will get the ball on Friday night hoping to get his season turned around, as he’s got a 0-4 record and 7.11 ERA across 38 innings. The 26-year-old had a tough time with the Toronto Blue Jays last weekend, as he allowed six runs on seven hits and a walk across 4.1 innings while striking out three. Mullins is a breakout star for the Baltimore offense with a .322/.391/.550 line, 14 homers, 15 steals and 30 RBI.
Shortstop Freddy Galvis hit the IL last week with a strained quad. First baseman Chris Davis (hip surgery) and utilityman Richie Martin (fractured wrist) will both miss the rest of the season. The big name on Baltimore’s injury report is ace John Means, who likely won’t return from a strained shoulder until after the All-Star break. Starting pitcher Bruce Zimmermann (biceps tendinitis), closer Cesar Valdez (strained lower back) and reliever Travis Lankins Sr. (elbow discomfort) are also all out.
Wild ninth inning rally propels Angels to series win
It’s been a disappointing season for the Angels overall, but they could build momentum after pushing across seven runs in the ninth inning against the Yankees for a dramatic win on Wednesday to take two of three in the Bronx. Phil Gosselin got the Angels off and running with a two-run homer in the top of the first only for the Yankees to respond with seven runs off Shohei Ohtani in the bottom of the frame, but Los Angeles fought back to tie the game on a ninth inning grand slam off the bat of Jared Walsh before going ahead on Luis Rengifo’s two-run single.
Ohtani had the worst start of his historic season, lasting just 0.2 innings while allowing seven runs on two hits and four walks with one strikeout. The Angels bullpen was fantastic with just one earned run allowed the rest of the game, with Mike Mayers picking up the win and Raisel Iglesias nailing down his 15th save. Walsh finished 2-5 with two runs scored and five RBI, while Jose Iglesias also had a multi-hit game including a double.
“Euphoria, that’s the only way I can describe it,” Walsh said to MLB.com about the grand slam off of Aroldis Chapman. “It was great. He’s one of the best closers I’ve seen over the last decade. I’ve got a ton of respect for him. It’s a pretty special moment to do that against someone I respect as much as I do.”
It hasn’t been a good season for the Angels from a gambling perspective, as they are 36-44 against the spread while being down a big amount on the money line as they haven’t lived up to preseason expectations. Overs are a strong 49-31 for the Angels, with four of their last five games going over the betting total.
Even with superstar Mike Trout injured for most of the year, Los Angeles has put up elite offensive numbers with an average of 4.91 runs per game and a 0.754 OPS to rank third in the AL. The pitching is a different story, with Los Angeles allowing a 5.04 collective ERA to rank third from the bottom in the Majors.
After his start on Thursday against the Yankees was rained out, Griffin Canning will now take the mound to open the Orioles series, having posted a 5-4 record and 4.95 ERA across 15 outings so far this year. Canning tossed five innings of two-run ball against the Tampa Bay Rays last time out in a no-decision, allowing six hits and two walks while striking out four. Ohtani is the MVP frontrunner with a monster year at the plate, as he’s putting up a 1.045 OPS with an MLB-high 28 home runs.
Trout is hoping to be back from a strained calf shortly after the upcoming All-Star break. Fellow outfielder Justin Upton recently went on the IL with a strained lower back, while Dexter Fowler will miss the rest of the season with a torn ACL. Reliever Luke Bard is the only Angels pitcher on the IL after undergoing hip surgery in May.
Trends via Covers.com.
- Los Angeles is 4-10 in its last 14 games against the AL East.
- Baltimore is 4-1 in the last five head-to-head meetings with the Angels.