FOX Saturday Baseball returns with a couple of matinee games. Regional coverage begins at 1 p.m. Eastern as the Baltimore Orioles face off against the Tampa Bay Rays and the San Francisco Giants take on the Detroit Tigers.
Matchup: Baltimore Orioles at Tampa Bay Rays
Date/Time: September 6, 1:05 p.m. ET
MLB Betting Odds From 5Dimes Sportsbook
Probable Starters: BAL: Kevin Gausman (7-7, 3.93) v. TB: Drew Smyly (9-10, 3.31)
Moneyline: Tampa Bay -135
Total: 7.5 -111/101
The Baltimore Orioles are running away with the AL East Division and enter play on Saturday trailing the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim by one two three games in the race for home-field advantage throughout the AL playoffs. With Friday night’s loss against the Rays, the Orioles fell to 82-58 on the season after starting 27-27 through the month of May. The Rays charged to 61-61, but they have now lost 13 of 20.
Kevin Gausman will take the mound for the Orioles. He’s been a fixture in the rotation since essentially the middle of June, but he wasn’t throwing on a regular turn until early July. The problem for Gausman is that he’s not working very deep into games. He’s averaged less than 5.2 innings per start and has only pitched into the seventh or later in four of his 16 starts. Over his last six starts, Gausman is 2-4 with a 4.32 ERA.
Drew Smyly has pitched well for the Rays since being acquired in the David Price trade with Detroit. Smyly is 3-1 with a 1.73 ERA in six starts with the Rays. Smyly has worked into at least the sixth in every start, including one complete game. He has a 4/1 K/BB ratio with 36 strikeouts in 41.2 innings of work. With a better defense behind him, opposing batters are hitting just .151 against Smyly with just 21 hits.
Gausman will be facing the Rays for the sixth time in his career and the fourth time this season. Overall, Gausman is 1-3 with a 6.64 ERA. This season, he’s 1-2 with a 4.20 ERA. The Orioles are 9-7 in his 16 starts for a profit of 3.30 units.
Smyly will be facing the Orioles for the sixth time, but this will be his third start. Overall, Smyly is 2-0 with a 0.86 ERA. Both wins have come this season as Smyly has allowed just two earned runs in 16 innings of work. The Rays are 4-2 in Smyly’s six starts for 1.66 units of profit.
Free MLB Pick: Tampa Bay Rays
Gausman occasionally struggles with his control and that’s a dangerous proposition against the Rays. They’re struggling right now, but they should continue to play hard for Joe Maddon. With a quick turnaround from Friday’s night game, the fact that the Orioles have not had a day off since August 21 and have been playing pressure-packed games could come into play.
Matchup: San Francisco Giants at Detroit Tigers
Date/Time: September 6, 1:07 p.m. ET
MLB Betting Odds From 5Dimes Sportsbook
Probable Starters: SF: Madison Bumgarner (16-9, 2.97) v. DET: David Price (13-10, 3.25)
Moneyline: Detroit -123
Total: 7.5 110/-130
The best pitching matchup on Saturday’s MLB card will be in Detroit as two of the game’s premier lefties will oppose each other. Madison Bumgarner and David Price will pitch the middle game of this key interleague weekend set. Both teams are jockeying for Wild Card positioning in their respective leagues, so this is a very important game for both teams.
Madison Bumgarner just keeps getting better. He’s already matched his strikeout output from last season’s 201.1 innings with 10 fewer innings and a handful of starts left to go this season. His walk rate has improved dramatically and he’s posting the second-best FIP of his career. Bumgarner hit one rough patch at the start of July, a three-start stretch with a 6.87 ERA. After a breather for the All-Star Break, Bumgarner has a 1.97 ERA over his last nine starts and has thrown three complete games in that span.
David Price has thrown the ball very well for the Tigers since he was acquired around the trade deadline. Price is 2-2 with a 3.86 ERA, which is a byproduct of the defense behind him. Price has struck out 43 in 39.2 innings of work for the Tigers. He’s given up 20 hits over his last two starts and nine runs, but eight of them came in a start against the Yankees and he held the Indians to one run in his last start.
Bumgarner has just one previous start against the Tigers. It came back in 2011 and Bumgarner held the Tigers to one run on five hits over 7.1 innings. In his interleague career, Bumgarner is 4-5 with a 4.29 ERA. The Giants are 17-12 in Bumgarner’s 29 starts, but only for a profit of 1.39 units.
Like Bumgarner, Price has just one career start against the opposition. He threw nine shutout innings against the Giants last season, but did not factor into the decision. Price is 9-9 with a 3.45 ERA in 21 career interleague starts. The Tigers are 3-3 in Price’s six starts for a loss of 1.15 units.
Free MLB Pick: San Francisco Giants
There aren’t many chances to get Madison Bumgarner as an underdog, but that’s the situation in this game. Bumgarner’s really locked into a groove and Price is fighting it a bit with his new team and the defensive downgrade. In what could be a pretty even pitching matchup, the Giants should have a bullpen advantage and Giants backers could be holding a plus-money ticket with the lead late.