The Major League Baseball record for most home losses in a season is 59 by the 1939 St. Louis Browns, but that mark is in major jeopardy of being broken by the 2019 Baltimore Orioles, who enter the All-Star break at 11-31 at home. MLB betting action doesn’t resume until Thursday (just one game, which we will preview individually), and here’s a look at two intriguing matchups on Friday.
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Tampa Bay Rays at Baltimore Orioles
- When: Friday, 7:05 p.m. ET
- Live Stream: MLB.tv
The Orioles open the second half with a nine-game homestand so if they struggle in those, that Brown’s record of 59 home losses probably will be broken. This is just a horrific team but at least should pick No. 1 overall in the MLB Amateur Draft again next summer. The Bird did win three of four to close the first half of the year. In fact, their recent three-game winning streak tied for their second-longest all year. The won four in a row from March 30-April 2.
One bright spot this year is Trey Mancini, who is batting .291 with 17 homers and 40 RBIs. He has hit safely in 64-of-83 games with an at-bat. His 95 hits rank 10th in the AL and rank 23rd in the majors. Among outfielders, his 95 hits rank third in the AL and rank sixth in the majors. Mancini is hitting .393 with eight home runs, three doubles, one triple, and 18 runs in the first inning. The O’s have outscored their opponents 60-51 in the first inning this season.
It’s expected to be struggling Dylan Bundy on the mound. Bundy allowed one run on three hits with two walks and six strikeouts across 6.2 innings to earn a victory against the Blue Jays last Friday. The 26-year-old really needed this win, as it snapped a four-game losing streak. Bundy gave up a homer for the ninth time in the last eight games, but it was only a solo homer, and because he yielded just two other hits, Bundy posted his fewest hits allowed since May 17. He improved to 4-10 with a 4.65 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, and 96 strikeouts in 91 innings this season.
The Rays had three players named to the All-Star Game, but one of them, infielder/DH Brandon Lowe, won’t be playing in it as he was placed on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to July 3, with a right shin bruise. Lowe fouled a ball hard off his right shin on Tuesday night and the Rays didn’t want to play a man short in their final series of the first half against the Yankees. Tampa Bay is also without first baseman Ji-Man Choi. Choi has been sidelined for a handful of days with a sprained left ankle.
Expected to be Yonny Chirinos (7-4) on the mound here. Chirinos didn’t factor into the decision against the Yankees on Thursday, giving up three earned runs on five hits over seven innings, striking out five and walking one in the Rays’ 8-4 extra-inning defeat. The right-hander continued his strong first half of the season with a sixth straight quality start, needing 101 pitches to make it through seven frames against a tough Yankees lineup. Through 100 innings, Chirinos has emerged as a key component of Tampa Bay’s staff, as he’s now boasting a 3.15 ERA, an impressive 0.99 WHIP and an 81:22 K:BB.
Houston Astros at Texas Rangers
- When: Friday, 8:05 p.m. ET
- Live Stream: MLB.tv
These are the only two teams that play Thursday night. Friday’s scheduled Houston pitcher is Gerrit Cole. Cole (9-5) won his fourth straight start, allowing three hits and two walks while striking out nine over seven scoreless innings in Saturday’s 4-0 win over the Angels. Cole allowed a first-inning double and a couple of harmless singles the rest of the way. It was another dominating performance for Cole, who hasn’t tasted defeat over nine straight outings, a stretch during which the right-hander’s posted a 1.55 ERA while winning six times.
Texas is a surprising third in the AL West. It’s the club’s best standing at the All-Star break since 2016 when the Rangers led the A.L. West by 4.5 games en route to a division title. Hunter Pence, Joey Gallo, and Mike Minor were named All-Stars, but Pence is injured and won’t play Tuesday. It was the 1st career selection for Gallo and Minor. It’s the first time the Rangers had 3 All-Stars since 2013 (Darvish/Nathan/Cruz). Pence, who was voted as starting DH, was replaced on the roster by Boston’s Xander Bogaerts. Minor won’t pitch Tuesday. He has been replaced on the AL roster by Cleveland’s Shane Bieber.
This marks the 2nd straight year for Texas to open the 2nd half at home, this after not doing so since 2013. The Rangers will play 16 of their 1st 18 post-break games against A.L. West opponents.
The Rangers are expected to go with Jesse Chavez. Chavez (3-4) took the loss Saturday, allowing five runs (four earned) on five hits and two walks while striking out three over five innings against Minnesota. The 35-year-old permitted three runs in the second inning and two more in the fourth as he could not get big outs with men on base. Chavez had done well in his previous three starts, throwing 17.1 innings and allowing just four earned runs with an 18:0 K:BB. He took a solid 3.30 ERA and 1.29 WHIP into the All-Star Break along with a 59:17 K:BB for the season.