Explosive Offense Makes Boston The MLB Pick Against Astros

Doug Upstone

Friday, May 13, 2016 2:58 PM UTC

Friday, May. 13, 2016 2:58 PM UTC

Batman and Superman recently did battle on the movie screen, however, right now any one on MLB betting would put their money on the Boston Red Sox to defeat these super heroes.

Houston Astros vs. Boston Red Sox
Boston (22-13, +6.6 units) is in a virtual tie with Baltimore in the AL East, having won five in a row and their batting order has produced 11 or more runs in four consecutive games, making them the first team to do this since Atlanta nine years ago and only the fourth in 55 years.

You have to wonder if Houston's Lance McCullers wishes he could come off the DL on say Monday, when the Astros leave Fenway Park, instead of making season debut today. For MLB picks, the Sawx are going to be hard not to choose. Does underperforming Houston (14-22, -12.5) have any shot?


Pitching Matchup - McCullers vs. Wright
McCullers rookie campaign was a mixture of good and not so good in 2015. Given a chance to start in May, the then 21-year old was 4-2 with a sharp 2.21 ERA when July arrived. The next months brought mixed results and he appeared tired in September, as Houston lost four of his five starts, yet in fairness, the Astros only scored 11 total runs in those games. He finished 6-7 with quality ERA of 3.22.

McCullers hurt his shoulder in spring training and Houston wisely did not rush him back since he has dynamic mid-90's fastball and he knows how to work up and down in the zone, along with tight curveball and deceptive change. Nonetheless, less than ideal team to face.

In Boston, the Red Sox fifth starter has a name that has been around comedy circles for decades, Steven Wright (3-3, 1.52 ERA). The now 60-year old comedienne is known for deadpan style and one-liners, but there in nothing funny about this pitcher. His knuckleball is dancing and he's only the third Red Sox hurler in 50 years to begin a season with six quality starts.( Roger Clemons (1991 & '93 and Clay Buchholtz (2013).

Offensive Overlook
The Chicago Cubs have competition for the best offense in baseball now with how the Red Sox are performing. Boston is average 6.4 runs per game this month and they are up to 5.91 RPG on the season, right behind the Cubs at 5.94. The Red Sox at Fenway have been devastating at 6.79 RPG, yet surprisingly, they are only 12-7 at home, as they suffered some poor pitching efforts in April. Right now, no better offense in the big leagues with Boston leading the majors in batting average (.295), slugging percentage (.355) and OPS (.841).

The news is not nearly so good for Astros offense. Houston is averaging 4.0 RPG and they have too many players who are not getting on base. Colby Rasmus, Luis Valbuena, Evan Gattis (currently in minors refining catching skills) and Carlos Gomez are all batting .224 or worse, with only Rasmus above a .310 OBP thanks to 22 walks. On the road, its gets worse for Houston, who averaging 3.4 RPG, which has correlated to 4-12 away mark.


Betting Odds, History and Bullpen Numbers
The MLB odds at BetOnline have Boston at -138 with total 9. With yesterday's 11-1 blowout, the Red Sox are 5-3 in recent home affairs with the Astros and the OVER is 6-2. The Houston bullpen figures to be busy with McCullers on a pitch count, but they are only 11th in the AL in ERA. Boston is much better at 3.42 (6th) and the Red Sox and 'Stros pensters are second and third in punch-outs per inning in the junior circuit.


Game Outcome
It is a given Boston cannot continue to score at same pace this week, but there home average of almost seven RPG is not out of the range of possibility. McCullers has a 2.70 ERA in two starts last season against the BoSox, however, if he walks more than he fans like last year (6 vs.5), he will be lucky to last five innings. Digging into my systems, I find AL teams allowing 4.7 or less runs game, after scoring eight runs or more in three straight games are 34-9 since 2012.

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Free MLB Pick: Boston Red Sox -140
Best Line Offered: at YouWager

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