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Baltimore Orioles at San Diego Padres

Over/Under: 8.5 (-105)

First pitch: 7:10 p.m. PT

Probable pitchers: David Hess (1-9, 7.15) vs. Chris Paddack (6-5, 2.84 ERA)

Finally, there’s a number for this opener of a two-game set between the Orioles and Padres. Baltimore announced its starter will be David Hess. But with an idea on how they’ll handle the pitching front this evening — combined with a not-pretty schedule around the league — I’m still pulling the trigger on a bet here.

One thing appears to be certain: Tom Eshelman will get in at some point in this game. Though his 5.79 ERA might scare off many, this 25-year-old actually hasn’t been too bad. He’s worked in four games (three starts, producing mixed results, but it looks like he may get a boost just from pitching outside Baltimore.

At home, Eshelman has compiled a disastrous 8.68 ERA and 1.61 WHIP but away from hitter-friendly Camden Yards, he holds a 2.89 ERA and 1.29 WHIP. All five home runs he’s allowed have come at home as well.

Oh, and it may also add a sense of comfort for him that this game will be emanating from Petco Park. Eshelman is a San Diego County native.

Even if he doesn’t play a significant role, the O’s figure to deploy some kind of combination of Eshelman, Gabriel Ynoa and/or Jimmy Yacabonis, which isn’t too bad after Hess starts. The total should be high enough to give the trio some room for error as well.

But really anyway, this bet revolves around the rookie sensation Paddack in his 18th start. Sure, the National League Rookie of the Year Award contender hit a rough patch recently when he registered a 4.87 ERA and 1.28 WHIP in his four June starts but he’s gotten back on track since.

Thus far in July, Paddack is pitching to a 1.96 ERA and 0.71 WHIP in three starts while holding opponents to a .141 batting average. There’s a better chance of him keeping that going when on the Petco Park mound, which is luckily where he’ll be tonight. He’s 4-2 with a 2.36 ERA, 0.71 WHIP, .166 batting average against and 51-5 (!) K/BB ratio in seven home assignments, easily besting the 2-3 record, 3.23 ERA, 1.04 WHIP, .203 BAA and 48-16 K/BB ratio he’s posted in 10 starts on the road.

Put your trust in The Sheriff’s powerful right arm as he continues his re-ascension against a lighter-hitting opponent. As manager Andy Green put it, “Chris is again the pitcher that he was at the beginning of the season.” So long as Baltimore’s pitching battalion can avoid getting hammered, Paddack can lead a low-scoring affair. Play: UNDER 8.5 (-105)

Yesterday’s Result: Indians-Royals Under 9.5 (loss)

Zylbert’s 2019 MLB Over/Under Betting Record*: 59-50-9, +3.05 units

*Each bet graded as if it were to win 1 unit

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