After taking two of three from the Toronto Blue Jays this week, the division-leading Baltimore Orioles (79-48) look to keep things rolling as they kick off a weekend set against the cellar-dwelling Colorado Rockies (48-79). First pitch of Friday’s opener is set for 7:05 p.m. ET from Camden Yards. It’ll be a battle of lefties on the mound, as Colorado turns to Kyle Freeland (5-13, 5.02 ERA) while the O’s give the ball to Cole Irvin (1-3, 4.66).
Baltimore enters as heavy -218 favorites on the moneyline at DraftKings Sportsbook, with the Rockies at +180. The run total is set at 9.
Rockies-Orioles picks: Friday, August 25
Out: SP Chase Anderson (shoulder), RP Tyler Kinley (elbow), OF/DH Kris Bryant (finger)
Out: OF Aaron Hicks (back), SP John Means (elbow), RP Keegan Akin (back)
Kyle Freeland vs. Cole Irvin
Freeland certainly isn’t the flashiest pitcher around, but he’s at least kept the Rockies in games for the most part, going five or six innings while allowing three or four runs in five of his last seven starts. He’s in many ways the archetypal soft-tossing lefty, using five pitches to try to keep hitters off-balance and hoping that his defense can turn balls in play into outs.
Irvin got off to a very rocky start to his first year in Baltimore, but he’s taking advantage of a second chance in the O’s rotation of late. The former Oakland Athletic threw five innings of one-run ball against his former team last weekend, lowering his ERA for the month to 0.64 across five appearances (two starts). Like Freeland, Irvin doesn’t throw very hard or generate a ton of strikeouts, but he uses a five-pitch mix and a very solid changeup to induce weak contact (74th percentile in hard-hit rate).
Colorado has long been punchless away from the friendly confines of Coors Field, and this year has been no exception — the Rockies have the second-lowest road OPS in baseball since August 1, with a hardly believable .195/.248/.327 slash line over that stretch. Irvin has been pitching pretty well, and with how pitcher-friendly Camden Yards has played this season, I’m backing the under tonight despite Freeland’s penchant for getting hit hard.
Pick: Under 9
The O’s have the much, much deeper lineup as well as the more reliable starting pitcher, and every win is crucial as they look to fend off the Rays atop the AL East. It’s hard to imagine them dropping this one unless something incredibly improbable goes down.