The best team in the American League will start their playoff season on Saturday when the Baltimore Orioles host the Texas Rangers. We have your AL Division Series preview with the latest odds and Rangers vs. Orioles predictions.
The Orioles won 101 games this season, and look to get to the World Series for the first time in 40 years, since 1983 when they won it all.
- Game 1: Rangers at Orioles, Oct. 7, 1:03 PM ET, on FS1
- Game 2: Rangers at Orioles, Oct. 8, 4:07 PM ET, on FS1
- Game 3: Orioles at Rangers, Oct. 10, 8:03 PM ET, on FOX
- Game 4: Orioles at Rangers, Oct. 11, on FOX, FS1
- Game 5: Rangers at Orioles, Oct. 13, on FOX, FS1
The Orioles and Rangers played six times and split the season series 3-3. Texas outscored Baltimore, 26-19.
BetMGM Series Winner Odds: Orioles -120 | Rangers +100
Baltimore Orioles Overview
As goes Adley Rutschman and Gunnar Henderson, so goes the Orioles. Rutschman was second in Rookie of the Year voting last season, and Henderson will likely win it this season. The young duo are foul line-to-foul line hitters, spraying line drives across the diamond. They will likely hit 1-2 in manager Brandon Hyde’s lineup.
Don’t sleep on Ryan O’Hearn, a slugging 1B/DH who would be a nice pick for your prop bets in this series (HR and RBI).
Youth is the theme for the O’s, and that’s personified in Kyle Bradish, who will likely toe the rubber in Game One. Bradish flummoxes enemy batters with any one of his four primary pitches, based on movement.
He will be followed by some rotation of veteran Kyle Gibson, Tyler Wells, and Dean Kremer. Those aren’t names that strike fear in batters, but all Baltimore needs is steady pitching for 4-5 innings before turning to their bullpen.
Baltimore posted the second-lowest bullpen ERA in baseball. It’s balanced with lefties Cionel Perez and Danny Coulombe opposite RHP Yennier Cano and Mike Baumann. The closer is Felix Bautista, who struck out an amazing 110 batters in 61 innings. This is a major strength for Baltimore.
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Texas Rangers Overview
Texas led the AL in runs, extra-base hits, home runs (tied with MIN), and slugging. The lineup is supported by the performances of superstars Marcus Semien, Corey Seager, and Adolis Garcia.
Those three combined for 101 HR, 318 runs scored, and 303 RBI. This is not a team that will steal a base, but their high team OBP usually means the bases will eventually get clogged.
Hopes are resting on Nathan Eovaldi, Jordan Montgomery, and Dane Dunning. We could also see veteran lefty Martín Pérez get a start if the series gets to 4-5 games. The Rangers are not deep at starting pitcher. They simply try to outscore you.
The ancient flamethrower Aroldis Chapman got a key inning in the Wild Card round. That’s all you need to know about the pitiful depth of the Texas pen. There are a lot of long-toothed soft-tossers out there, with Will Smith acting as a closer. (Not THAT Will Smith, so rest easy, Chris Rock).
Other MLB Divisional Series Previews
- ALDS: Twins vs Astros Prediction
- NLDS: Dodgers vs Diamondbacks Prediction
- NLDS: Braves vs Phillies Prediction
Pitching Matchup for Game 1
Dane Dunning (3.70 ERA, 140 K in 172.2 IP) vs. Kyle Bradish (2.83 ERA, 168 K in 168.2 IP)
Bradish is the best pitcher in MLB that many people have probably never heard of (with apologies to Tarik Skubal of the Tigers). He likes to keep the ball low, and he often gets the double play grounder when he needs it.
The Orioles are one of baseball’s best defensive teams, and that advantage will show up in games started by Bradish. Given the poor standing of Bruce Bochy’s bullpen, we might see Dunning asked to pitch at least 6 innings, maybe more.
We’d advise against any prop bets or parlays with SP strikeout wagers.
Rangers vs. Orioles Prediction
The Orioles are too good to not win this series. They have a better pitching staff than Texas and a more reliable bullpen. These games in the postseason will be decided after the 5th inning, which means the bullpen is paramount. We like Baltimore to win in four games.
Game 1 Pick: Rangers to win on the road. We expect Texas to still be hot at the plate, and the O’s to be a little rusty after five days off.