Wednesday MLB Preview – Orioles at Angels

The Orioles started the Buck Showalter-era with a victory in the series opening game against the Angels.

Los Angeles Angels at Baltimore Orioles

Los Angeles lost for the ninth time in 12 games and could possibly drop below .500 for the first time since June 2.  The game also marked the move of Torii Hunter going from his regular position of center field to right.  “It was different, but I was still in the game in the outfield,” Hunter said.  The Angels have been unable to collect back-to-back victories since June 16-17 and are 7-10 since the All-Star break.  Los Angeles is an even 1-1 this month (-20) and is 33-26 in August the past three years (-420).  The club will be a road favorite of -125 to -150 for just the fourth time this year (1-2, -170), but has excelled in his role the past three seasons, producing a 29-16 record (+620).  Despite the 6-3 loss in the series opener, the team is 10-4 in their last 14 games in Baltimore.

Angels starting pitcher Ervin Santana is 10-7 with a 3.65 ERA in 21 starts this season and is coming in with consecutive victories.  Both of those victories have come against the Rangers, going 14 innings and allowing nine runs (six earned) on 15 hits while striking out 12.  The young right-hander is 5-4 with a 2.73 ERA in 10 road starts this year.  Santana made five starts in July, posting an even 2-2 mark with a fantastic 2.89 ERA, limiting opponents to just three deep flies in 37.1 innings.  In nine career starts versus the Orioles, he stands at an even 3-3 record and 4.81 ERA.  He has won four of his last six decisions and tossed six innings-or-more in each of his last seven starts.

Baltimore picked up a victory in new manager Buck Showalter’s first game with the club, but the team is still well on its way to 100-plus losses.  “Everybody, including me, is thirsting for good things to happen,” Showalter said.  The victory was his first since 2006 with Texas, as the team has now had three skippers over the course of the season.  The Orioles are now 10-13 against the AL West division, which is impressive considering the team is 25-62 overall versus the entire league.  Playing on Wednesday has been a major hurdle, with Baltimore compiling a 2-14 record this season (-1,200) and 18-47 on this day over the last three years (-2,770).  The Orioles are 6-11 as a home underdog of +125 to +150 this season (-260) and the total is 5-10 O/U in those contests.

Orioles starting pitcher Brian Matusz is 3-11 with a 5.46 ERA in 21 starts this season and is searching for his first victory since Independence Day.  Over that span, he has allowed 18 runs and 19 hits over 13 innings of work.  The left-hander is winless at home this year, going 0-7 with a 5.55 ERA.  After posting a respectable 3.69 ERA in six starts two months ago, Matusz fell off dramatically in July.  He compiled a 1-2 record and 8.10 ERA in five starts last month, giving up 21 hits and issuing 16 walks in 20 innings.  The second-year starter made his only career start against the Angels in his third career outing in 2009, giving up five runs (four earned) and 11 hits over 5.2 frames.

Bettors will find that the Angels have dropped their last five games against AL East opponents and the over has cashed in six of their last eight games versus the division.  Baltimore has won five straight against Western opponents, but are 0-8 in Matusz’s last eight starts with five days rest.

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