After the Atlanta Braves stole game two with a dramatic eighth-inning rally on Saturday night, the Baltimore Orioles will look for revenge — and a series win — in the rubber match on Sunday. It’ll be an early start time from Truist Park in Atlanta, with first pitch set for 11:35 a.m. ET. Tyler Wells (2-1, 3.34 ERA) will look to continue his strong start for Baltimore against rookie Braves sensation Bryce Elder (3-0, 1.75).
The Braves enter as -165 favorites on the moneyline at DraftKings Sportsbook, while the Orioles are +140 underdogs. The run total is set at 9.
Orioles-Braves picks: Sunday, May 7
Out: RHP Dillon Tate (elbow), RHP Mychal Givens (knee)
Out: C Travis d’Arnaud (concussion), SP Kyle Wright (shoulder)
Tyler Wells vs. Bryce Elder
Wells certainly won’t blow anyone anyway, with a fastball that sits around 92 and just 27 strikeouts in 35 innings, but the O’s righty has been dynamite this season, allowing more than three runs just twice while pitching into the sixth inning five times in six starts. The secret has been command: Wells ranks in the 87th percentile in walk rate, while he doesn’t need great fastball velocity when he’s consistently placing it above hitters’ barrels.
Still, without overwhelming stuff, the margin for error here is slim — Wells has allowed seven homers already, including three just in his last time out against the Kansas City Royals. When he misses his location, he gets hit hard, so he’ll have to be particularly careful against the Braves’ powerful bats.
Elder is sort of the same story, with a sinker and four-seamer that struggle to crack 90 mph but that he commands well. The rookie has pitched into the sixth in every start this season while allowing zero earned runs in four of his six starts, but he seems to be benefitting from some batted-ball luck so far: He’s in the bottom 10 percent of starters in hard-hit rate and average exit velocity, while Statcast has his expected ERA (4.38) nearly three runs higher than the actual number (1.75). Elder gets lots of ground balls and relies on his strong defense behind him, but it’s been a bit of a high-wire act.
Both of these pitchers enter with shiny ratios, but I’m skeptical that they’ll have much success today — Wells gets hit hard when he doesn’t have his A-plus command, while Elder’s goofy high 89.4% strand rate and goofy low 13.0% HR/FB rate suggest he’s due for some regression. With two powerful offenses that have combined for 13 and 9 runs in the last two days, I’m taking the over.
Pick: Over 9
In what should be a high-scoring game, I’ll take the team with the better of the two bullpens — especially when they’re getting plus odds. Yennier Cano and Felix Bautista have been great for Baltimore, and they could make the difference in the late innings.