The series opener on Monday night will feature two teams jocking for position in the AL wild card picture with both teams sitting a couple of games out of the second spot.
Baltimore Orioles Form
Following an 89-win campaign, the Baltimore Orioles have taken a step back this season currently sitting a game under .500 at a 55-56 mark entering Monday’s tilt.
This has included their offense falling a bit short of their typical high level of production that has come over the last few years. Despite that, Baltimore is currently tied for seventh in the league with .261 team batting average, sixth with 160 home runs, fifth with 1,004 hits, and fifth in 1689 total bases.
In the process, second baseman Jonathan Schoop has been a pleasant surprise leading the team across the board batting .303 with 25 home runs, 82 RBIs, .354 on-base percentage, and 125 hits. The Orioles have also received 20 home runs a piece from former All-Stars outfielder Adam Jones and third baseman Manny Machado.
Baltimore is expected to put Dylan Bundy on the mound on Monday night against the Los Angeles Angels. He had a strong start to the season, but has fallen off track a bit over the last 10 starts where he has notched just four quality starts while failing to pitch at least six innings in all but four occasions.
Bundy has just one career appearance against the Angels that came last year in relief as he pitched just 1.1 innings while giving up four earned runs on four hits with one home run ballooning his career ERA to 27.00 against their AL West opponent.
That said, Baltimore has picked up their play as of late winning seven out of their last 10 games that has them just 2.5 games out of the second AL wild card spot.
Los Angeles Angels Form
Like the Orioles, the Angels have struggled with finding consistency throughout the 2017 campaign.
Los Angeles has tittering just narrowly above or below a .500 record for much of the season with them currently sitting at the bottom end of the spectrum while being three games out of the postseason picture.
Much of their struggles has come from their middle-of-the-pack pitching staff that holds the 14th-best ERA at 4.22, 17th with 48 quality starts, and 15th with 907 strikeouts. Los Angeles only has one picture with double-digit wins in right hander J.C. Ramirez, who was converted from reliever into a full-time starting pitcher this season.
The offense hasn’t fared much better currently ranking 24th in runs scored, 29th in slugging percentage (.392), 23rd in on-base percentage (.315), and 25th in batting average (.249). It didn’t help them that reigning AL MVP Mike Trout had missed several weeks due to thumb surgery.
However, Trout has steadily picked up where he left off since returning following the All-Star break batting .355 with six home runs, 15 RBIs, 15 runs, and 15 walks in 76 plate appearances.
Shortstop Andrelton Simmons has put forth a productive campaign batting a career-best .301 with 11 home runs and 49 RBIs that have him on pace to finish with his most productive campaign. Former All-Star first baseman Albert Pujols has been steady at the plate batting .230 with 17 home runs with a team-best 68 RBIs.
Ramirez is scheduled to take the bump on Monday night as he currently holds a team-high 10 wins with a 4.03 ERA with 99 strikeouts in 21 starts in 24 total appearances. The 28-year-old holds a career 5.40 ERA in two outings against Baltimore going just 1.2 innings pitched.
The bookmakers currently have the Angels as the slight favorite for Monday’s matchup with Ladbrokes having them at 5/7 odds while the Orioles sit at 6/5.
Given the Angels’ success at home holding a 31-25 record along with the Orioles’ struggles at a 20-33 road mark, this should remain the same with what we believe taking Los Angeles at 9/5 is the recommended choice.