Texas Rangers at Baltimore Orioles – MLB Pick for July 17th
The Texas Rangers travel to Camden Yard in Baltimore to take on the struggling Orioles in a four-game series. Game one is set for 4:05 PM PST and will feature two teams seemingly headed in different directions. The Rangers will send Andrew Cashner (4-7 3.54 ERA) to the mound to face the Orioles Chris Tillman (1-5 7.90 ERA).
The Rangers have won five out of their last seven games and suddenly find themselves right in the thick of things for the second Wild Card spot in the American League, only 2.5 games back. Texas is in the midst of a soft spot in the schedule, playing these Orioles for four before heading to Tampa Bay for three games and then coming back home to play a fading Miami Marlin’s team and then the Orioles for three more contests after that. The Rangers need to take advantage of this easy run of games if they are going to emerge as real playoff contenders.
To keep the momentum going, the Rangers look to veteran right hander, Andrew Cashner. Cashner has struggled at times this year and is pitching to contact much more than he has in years past. With a very respectable ERA of 3.54, Cashner has been able to get hitters out without striking them out. Only striking out 4.4 hitters per nine innings, about half of his career average, Cashner is trying to reinvent himself as a contact pitcher and is showing some signs of success. While his record is a disappointing 4-7 on the year, his 3.54 ERA is the best he has posted in five years. His WHIP of 1.42 is significantly lower than in years past and is a bit surprising considering how many more balls are going in play. Cashner hasn’t been the lights out, top of rotation ace that people thought he could be when he was with the San Diego Padres, but he is getting outs and eating innings and giving his team a chance to win every day. Not much more you can ask from a starter than that.
Chris Tillman, on the other hand, has been down right terrible his season. Tillman is easily having the worst season of his career. His 7.90 ERA is almost off the charts high for a starting pitcher, and his WHIP is a laughable 2.14! Tillman has just been bad, really bad.
The Orioles are quickly fading into obscurity in the American League. Losers of eleven out of their last fifteen games it’s time to start looking to next year for Baltimore fans. Jonathan Schoop and Seth Smith have been the topic of trade rumors recently and even Zach Britton, their All-Star closer that got Cy Young and MVP votes last season, is reportedly being shopped. It appears that Manny Machado is safe for now but only because he is struggling through his worst season in the Big Leagues and you don’t want to sell low of a player that is a generational talent and is basically the reincarnation of Brooks Robinson.
For tonight’s game, I think it’s an easy pick. I will take the hot Rangers over the slumping Orioles. I just don’t see how Chris Tillman can be a favorite in this one. Give me the Rangers as small underdogs and look for Baltimore and Tillman to continue their descent into the baseballs living hell of a team that is out of contention by August 1st.