To the delight of this sports handicapper, the Houston Astros are priced as underdogs today in Cleveland despite having the better pitcher and the better hitting team.
Houston Astros (Keuchel) vs. Cleveland Indians (Carrasco) 7:10 ET
Houston and Cleveland square off on Monday for their first game of an early week set. The Astros enter on a 13-8 run, but coming off a 5-4 loss to Boston on Sunday. Cleveland returns home from a lost weekend in Pittsburgh. Following a 1-0 loss Saturday, they blew a 3-run lead in a 5-3 loss Sunday to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Hard to believe that Cleveland is not a winning team! With a rotation featuring the likes of Kluber, Salazar, Carrasco, Bauer and now rookie, C. Anderson, it would appear the future is bright for the Tribe. But, their No. 17 batting OPS and No. 14 pitching OPS numbers imply their results are commensurate with their performance. They have shown notable improvement in going 24-20 following their 14-23 start. But, there is still a long way to go, as they trail the Royals by 9 games in the AL Central. In addition, a pitiful 15-23 home mark is the worst in the American League. Tonight’s starter, Carrasco has certainly done his part of late. In a pair of recent outings, spanning 16 2/3 IP, Carrasco has allowed just 2 runs. In his lone start against the Astros this season, Carrasco worked 6 1/3 shutout innings, allowing just 3 hits with 10 Ks in a 2-0 victory. But, those numbers pale in comparison to Keuchel.
Keuchel has simply pitched “lights out” all season! For the year, he is 10-3 with a 2.03 ERA and 0.96 WHIP, which is nearly as good on the road at 0.99. That number signifies a virtually automatic PLAY ON at this underdog price. In a pair of recent outings, spanning 17 IP, Keuchel pitched 17 scoreless innings with identical 4-0 victories vs. KC and NYY. In addition, Keuchel has a tremendous history himself against today’s opponent. In a trio of starts against the Tribe, Keuchel is 2-0 with a 0.78 ERA. After 84 games and a 48-36 record that leads the Angels by only 3 games in the AL West, it now appears Houston is for real. At least, a far cry from a team who lost 90+ games in each of the previous 4 seasons. This record includes a respectable 20-20 on the road. The OPS numbers bear out this excellence. The Astros are one of only 2 teams (the LA Dodgers are the other) who have Top 8 OPS in both batting and pitching.
Too good to pass up Keuchel and the Astros in the role of BERD (better record dog)! Make them your Top Dog of the Day.
MLB Picks: Astros +111 at The Greek