For the first time since 2016, the Baltimore Orioles (93-56) are in the postseason. Now they’ll look to keep hold of first place in the American League East when they travel to Houston to Monday to take on the Astros (84-66). John Means (0-1, 5.40 ERA) will make his second start of the season for Baltimore, while Justin Verlander (11-8, 3.39 ERA) gets the ball for Houston. First pitch is scheduled for 8:10 p.m. ET.
The Astros are -185 moneyline favorites at DraftKings Sportsbook, while the Orioles are +154 underdogs. The run total is set for 9.
Orioles-Astros picks: Monday, September 18
Day-to-day: 1B Ryan Mountcastle (right shoulder soreness)
Out: RHP Felix Bautista (partial right UCL tear)
John Means vs. Justin Verlander
Means is back on the mound after spending a year and a half recovering from Tommy John surgery. The last time he was on the mound for a full season, he had a 3.62 ERA across 146.2 innings in 2021 and also threw a no-hitter. He went five innings in his first start of the season, allowing three runs against the Cardinals.
Verlander will be making his ninth start with the Astros since being acquired at the Deadline. He’s posted a 3.86 ERA in his first eight starts, and is coming off an outing where he allowed five runs in seven innings against the Athletics. He’s posted a 3.54 ERA in 154.1 career innings against the Orioles.
I like this under. The Orioles will likely have a backup-heavy lineup as a reult of yesterday’s partying, so I think Verlander will have an easy enough time. I’m scared of what the Astros could do against Means — Houston has crushed lefties all year — but I don’t think they’ll reach nine by themselves.
Pick: Under 9
The Astros pick up the win for the same reasons listed above. The Orioles (rightfully) partied hard after their clinch yesterday, so it’s fair to assume they’ll come out sluggish today, which means it’ll be a tough task to find any success against Verlander.