Daily MLB Picks: Baltimore Orioles vs. Tampa Bay Rays, Friday, July 21

Rob Senior previews the Baltimore Orioles vs. Tampa Bay Rays on July 21. He provides his expert prediction as well as best bets.

Orioles vs. Rays: Preview and Picks

It’s a potential showdown for first place this weekend in Florida with the Orioles Vs Rays game tonight.

The Orioles (58-37) and Rays (60-39) are tied atop the standings. The four-game set will give the victor a leg up as baseball chugs toward the trade deadline and into the final third of the season.

We look at a matchup of right-handed pitchers for Friday night.

Baltimore Orioles Preview

The Orioles’ offense is quietly knocking on the door of becoming a top unit in MLB.

Ranked 8th in runs scored, 9th in OPS, and 10th in total bases, the Orioles are most importantly tied for first place in baseball’s deepest division. This is thanks to the emergence of middle infielders Adam Frazier and Jordan Westburg as well as steady performances from Anthony Santander and Austin Hays, and franchise catcher Adley Rutschman.

The star of the show Friday will be right hander Kyle Bradish (6-4, 3.05 ERA). He comes highly recommended by fantasy experts. They point to Bradish’s WHIP (walk/hits per innings pitched) below 1.00 over his past dozen starts.

Bradish’s advanced stats point toward continued improvement in the second half. Should he however continue to rely on his off-speed repertoire instead of a below-average fastball.

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Tampa Bay Rays Preview

An absolutely torrid start to the season (13 straight wins) buoyed Tampa Bay to their AL-best record. The offense is loaded with starts, foremost among them OF Randy Arozarena and 1B Yandy Diaz.

Friday’s starter is Zach Eflin (10-5, 3.59 ERA) who comes off his worst start of 2023, allowing five runs to the lowly Kansas City Royals.

The impressive Tampa Bay offense has hiccupped a bit of late, putting up a mark much closer to the league average since June 1. As the schedule toughens, the Rays need to get back to their early-season ways.

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Baltimore Orioles vs. Tampa Bay Rays Prediction

Tampa Bay has the home-field advantage. However, at 29-17 away from home this year Baltimore doesn’t figure to be bothered by that. A pitching matchup that appears to favor Eflin is much closer when looking at numbers that exclude the first dozen or so games of the season (which by this point, are three months ago.)

And finally, the offensive numbers are getting closer by the day.

It looks like about an even matchup. I’ll take the upstart Orioles to seize first place from Tampa Bay – if only for Friday – as an underdog.

Baltimore Orioles Vs. Tampa Bay Rays

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