After shocking the Baltimore Orioles with two straight wins at Camden Yards to open the ALDS, the Texas Rangers now head home on the verge of their first trip to the ALCS since 2011. The O’s, meanwhile, are trying to keep what had been a dream season alive, and they’ll turn to righty Dean Kremer (13-5, 4.12 ERA) in a must-win spot with John Means unavailable due to elbow soreness. Texas counters with righty Nathan Eovaldi (12-5, 3.63), who was excellent in his postseason debut against the Rays last week.
Texas enters as -135 favorites on the moneyline at DraftKings Sportsbook, with the O’s at +114. The run total is set at 9.
Orioles vs. Rangers ALDS Game 3 picks: Tuesday, October 10
Out: SP Max Scherzer (shoulder), SP Jon Gray (forearm), RP Jonathan Hernandez (lat)
Out: RP Felix Bautista (Tommy John)
Dean Kremer vs. Nathan Eovaldi
After 101 wins and an AL East title, the Orioles season comes down to this: Kremer nearly pitched his way out of Baltimore’s rotation with a dismal April, but he now finds himself on the mound in a do-or-die game against a red-hot offense. Rough first month aside, the righty wound up settling in and becoming a key piece for the O’s — especially in the second half, when he posted a 3.25 ERA over 14 starts. It’s not the most overwhelming repertoire — and his batted-ball metrics and 4.96 xERA suggest that there was more than a little luck involved in his success this year — but he uses five different pitches to keep hitters off-balance, avoid barrels and let his defense turn balls into outs. He was solid in his one and only outing against Texas this year, going 6.1 innings and surrendering three runs on five hits.
Eovaldi spent much of the 2023 season as a Cy Young candidate, stepping into the void left by Jacob deGrom’s injury and carrying a depleted Rangers rotation until reinforcements arrived in the form of Max Scherzer and Jordan Montgomery. He had a 2.69 ERA at the end of July, including a remarkable stretch of nine quality starts in 11 outings from late April to early June. And then a forearm injury nearly derailed everything: Eovaldi missed nearly a month and a half on the IL and wasn’t the same pitcher when he returned in September, posting an ugly 9.30 ERA for the month while his fastball velocity was way down. Everything was trending in the wrong direction, but the righty looked revived against Tampa in the Wild Card round, sitting at 95-96 again and firing 6.2 innings of one-run ball with eight Ks. If he really is feeling healthy again, he’ll be awfully tough to hit, but that remains a bit of an unknown.
We saw a whopping 19 runs scored in Sunday’s Game 2, and while I’m not quite predicting that type of slugfest here, I do think we’ll be hitting the over again. I still don’t fully trust Eovaldi, even though his fastball velocity is trending in an encouraging direction, and I have a hard time believing that Kremer will survive for very long with how well this Rangers offense is putting together at-bats of late. If a desperate Baltimore team can get to Eovaldi a little bit, this number feels low.
Pick: Over 9
Texas is just too locked in at the plate right now, and with a substantial starting pitching advantage and a raucous home crowd behind them, I think they make this a clean sweep against Kremer and the O’s bullpen.
Pick: Texas -135