American League Championship Series Game 3: Baltimore Orioles at Kansas City Royals

Date/Time: October 13, 8:07 p.m. ET


MLB Betting Odds From 5Dimes Sportsbook

Probable Starters: BAL: Wei-Yin Chen (0-0, 0.00) v. KC: Jeremy Guthrie (0-0, 0.00)

Moneyline: Kansas City -104

Total: 7.5

After losing both games at home, the Baltimore Orioles are in a must-win situation in Game 3 of the American League Championship Series. The Orioles are hoping to become the first time in Major League Baseball history to win the League Championship Series round after losing both games at home to start the series. The team that takes a 2-0 lead into Game 3 at home is 11-0 in the LCS round and the team that leads 2-0 after two games, regardless of home-field advantage, is 21-3 in the LCS. That means that the Orioles have a major uphill climb and now face three straight games in Kansas City.

To start their comeback, the Orioles will send Wei-Yin Chen to the mound. Chen will try to bounce back from a disastrous outing in his first 2014 postseason start against the Detroit Tigers. Chen was knocked around for five runs on seven hits in 3.2 innings of work. Despite the bad start, the Orioles managed to win that game to save Chen from his second career postseason loss. Chen made one other postseason start back in 2012 against the New York Yankees. He only allowed one earned run over 6.1 innings, but took the loss. Chen wrapped up the regular season with a 16-6 record and a 3.54 ERA. Over his final five starts, Chen allowed just seven earned runs, but was only 2-3 as the Orioles failed to score for him.

For 11-year MLB veteran Jeremy Guthrie, Monday night will be a very special one. After 275 career appearances and 248 starts, Guthrie will make his first career playoff appearance. The right-hander wrapped up the regular season with a 13-11 record and a 4.13 ERA. With the exception of one bad start against the Tigers on September 8, Guthrie allowed just eight earned runs over six of his last seven starts. Over the final two months of the season, Guthrie lowered his ERA from 4.70 to 4.13 and the Royals were 8-3 in his 11 starts. He’ll be pitching for the first time since September 26, so there has to be some concern about that.

Chen is 1-1 with a 4.17 ERA in six career starts against the Royals. He faced them twice in 2014 and pitched well. He allowed three runs on 16 hits over 12.1 innings with a 1-0 record. The Orioles were 19-12 in Chen’s 31 regular season starts, which put him among the top-20 starters in return on investment. The Orioles won his lone playoff start, though he had very little to do with it.

Guthrie is 2-1 with a 2.67 ERA in four starts. In two starts against the Orioles this season, Guthrie was 0-1 with a 3.60 ERA. He allowed six runs on 15 hits in 14 innings of work. The Royals were 19-13 in Guthrie’s 32 starts this season, which put him among the top-25 starts in return on investment.

Free MLB Pick: Baltimore Orioles

The Royals are living right in the MLB postseason, but this line tells a lot. With home-field advantage and the way that the Royals have been winning games with defense and baserunning, for this game to be a virtual pick ‘em speaks volumes about the pitching matchup. Chen should fare well against this Royals lineup, while Guthrie, who has pretty pedestrian stuff, has not pitched since September 26. That’s a long layoff and it’s hard to just flip the switch. The line seems to be begging bettors to take the Royals, so contrarian may be the way to go.