Houston had their five-game winning streak snapped last night, but the betting odds are still in their favor today for middle game of the series in Seattle because of whom they have pitching.
Dallas Keuchel is the Astros starting pitcher and he been the masthead for this staff and will look to return them to the winners circle and beat the sportsbooks MLB odds. Can Houston (40-29, +8.6 units) do it or will Seattle take a commanding series lead in this AL West confrontation? Let’s determine what could happen.
Houston’s Offense is All or Nothing
Like everything about the Astros offense this season, it is either outstanding or barely visible. Houston has dropped nine of 15 games and seen their lead in the division cut to 2.5 games over Texas. Granted, every team will have somewhat similar numbers but as a baseball handicapper I find these rather extreme.
In the Astros last six victories they have averaged 8.8 runs per game and in defeat 2.1 RPG. This all summed up with Houston being first in home runs in the league with 99, they are 10th in on-base percentage. Seattle is second in the AL in strikeouts but nobody’s whiffs like the ’Stros, who fan an amazing 14.4 percent more than the Mariners. What saves Houston is they rank fifth in walks to overcome the other inadequacies. Can the Astros really be trusted for MLB picks, that is something each person has to decide.
Seattle Might Be Improving, Maybe
The Mariners have been alternating wins and losses over the last seven contests, making them 4-3, which is a big improvement over the 31-37 (-10.5) record they have posted this campaign for a team that was supposed to challenge for the division crown.
Though the pitchers have not always been great, the offense has been downright pathetic in scoring 3.4 RPG. Beyond Nelson Cruz (.315, 18 homers, 42 RBIs), whose been slumping for the first time all season, nobody else is close to sniffing a .300 batting average.
The focal point of their lack of scoring has been Robinson Cano with his .248 batting average and his ridiculous .284 OBP. Last season Cano was a team leader and a beacon, this year he’s played often bored, with awful body language, like he has buyer’s remorse for signing a big contract in Seattle away from the bright lights of New York. The Mariners followed Cano’s lead in 2014 and nearly made the playoffs, will his attitude improve to make the M’s a factor?
Keuchel vs. Walker Matchup
Dallas Keuchel (8-2, 2.04 ERA) continues to shine for Houston, who has won 10 of his 14 starts. The 27-year old is the classic left-hander who has the light bulb go on a little later in his career. Last season Keuchel began to believe and gained the confidence needed to throw strikes with his two-seam fastball which has movement and consistently challenged opposing hitters. Mixing in a cutter, slider, curve and changeup, opposing batters are at just a .193 average against him and his WHIP is second in the AL.
After a fantastic spring training in which Taijuan Walker (4-6, 5.00) earned a spot in the Seattle rotation, Walker tried to be too fine his tosses and was hit viciously and had a 8.74 ERA in early May. Then the 22-year old began to trust his coaches and himself and has a 1.55 ERA in his last four starts. He features a mid-90’s heater, a hard cutter-slider combo and quality off-speed curve that leave batters out on front foot and off balance.
Oddsmakers Numbers and Winner
Houston opened as a -130 favorite and have slipped to -120 (Heritage Sports had them at -117 at last look) with the total at Ov.6.5 (-120). Keuchel has won two of his three starts at Seattle with a 1.29 ERA and he and the Astros are 17-8 in his starts off a loss.
Walker had thrown well against Houston in three previous outings but was roughed up in H-Town on May 2nd, surrendering eight runs and nine hits, including a career-high three homers. He will face an Astros squad that is 26-14 versus right-hander starters, averaging 5.1 RPG. Seattle on the other hand is 6-8 against lefties and their anemic offense becomes even worse, dropping to 2.9 RPG. For this sports pick have to back the better pitcher and team.
Free MLB Pick – Houston -120 at Bookmaker