The Houston Astros are three games out of the American League West lead, but they have a chance to make up some ground there – and in the overall AL standings – during their series with the Baltimore Orioles.
Baltimore (70-42) has the second best record in baseball behind only the Atlanta Braves. The young Orioles are atop the AL East and looking to lock up a playoff spot for the first time since the 2016 season.
Houston’s rotation lines up perfectly for the first game of this series, as lefty Framber Valdez (9-7, 3.07 ERA) gets the ball on Tuesday night. Valdez threw a no-hitter in his last appearance, striking out seven and allowing just one walk to the Cleveland Guardians.
While things won’t be that easy against a strong Baltimore lineup, Valdez certainly has the edge on the mound.
The O’s will send youngster Grayson Rodriguez (2-3, 6.09 ERA) to the mound in this one. Rodriguez had an awful start to 2023, but he’s been better since being recalled on July 17. In four outings since then, he has a 3.57 ERA and a 2.57 Fielding Independent Pitching.
Let’s break down the odds – and my best bet – for this showdown between two of the best teams in the AL:
Astros vs. Orioles odds, run line and total
Astros vs. Orioles prediction and pick
Rodriguez may be turning things around as of late, but I can’t get behind him – even at home – against Valdez.
The Astros lefty has been one of the best pitchers in baseball once again this season, posting a FIP of 3.11. After a rough month of July (7.29 ERA in four starts), Valdez showed that he’s still elite by tossing the no-no his last time out.
He also should benefit against the O’s, who are middle of the pack (13th) in OPS against left-handed pitching this season. Overall, Baltimore is No. 11 in the league in that statistic.
As for Rodriguez, he’s starting to show why he’s one of the best pitching prospects in Baltimore’s system, but I’m not sure I can trust him just yet.
Even though he’s pitched well in four starts since returning to the bigs, he’s only pitched more than six innings in one of those outings. He’s also allowed a ton of baserunners this season, posting a WHIP of 1.50 on the season.
I expect the veteran Astros to take advantage of that and ride another strong Valdez outing to a series opening win.
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.