Note McCullers' Stats & Back Astros -1.5 Over Red Sox

Joe Gavazzi

Thursday, July 23, 2015 1:40 PM GMT

The Red Sox and Astros wind up their 3-game today. The first two games have resulted in Houston wins, so who are we choosing with our MLB picks?

Boston Red Sox (Miley) at Houston Astros (McCullers)  8:10 ET
The Boston Red Sox and Houston Astros wind up their 3-game early week set with an 8:10 ET start, Thursday night in Houston.  The first two games have resulted in Houston wins by scores of 8-3 and 4-2.  Those results mirror the current form of these teams.   The wild card is clearly Boston pitcher, Miley, whose performances have been in and out all season long.  

The Boston Red Sox have been one of MLB’s biggest underachievers this season.  They are currently 42-53, last in the AL East, and trailing NYY by 11 games.  There is little to like about this team, who has failed to integrate the high-priced pieces of their off-season acquisitions. Currently, the Red Sox are on a 0-7 slide in which they have homered just once.  In the 6 games of this current road trip, they are hitting just .192, scoring only 9 runs.  The 20-30 road record implies they are eager to return to Fenway Park.  Tonight’s starter, Miley, is clearly the wild card in this game.  He comes off 7+ innings of work against red-hot LAA, a 1-0 loss to the Angels.  But in the previous 3 games before that, Miley had a 6.88 ERA.  One thing has been consistent all season is his poor work on the road where his 1.54 WHIP is a clear indication of his play AGAINST status outside of Fenway.  Those who have been tracking my play on and play against WHIP numbers, both home and away, noted the 12-5 performance on Wednesday’s card.  

Much unlike Boston, the Houston Astros have been the turnaround story of the season.  After (4) 90+ loss seasons, Houston was pegged for improvement.  But, few could have envisioned the 53-43 record which has left them just 2 games behind the red-hot (18-4) Angels for the AL West lead.  Beginning this week, Houston was one of only 2 teams (LA Dodgers the other) who had top 9 OPS numbers in both batting and pitching.  Most notable of those numbers was a .729 batting OPS fueled by 132 HRs (the most in the majors).  The Astros ended the first half on a 6-game losing streak.  Since, however, they have gone 4-1, including 3 consecutive wins.  Tonight, they send 1st year pitcher, McCullers, to the mound.  In his 2 months in the Bigs, McCullers has a 2.52 ERA and 1.10 WHIP.  Those numbers, however, pale in comparison to his work at home, where in 5 starts McCullers has a 1.20 ERA and 0.90 WHIP, clear play ON numbers.  

Run line players will take advantage of these stats which represent the divergent momentum of these two teams: 16 of 17 (94%) Boston losses have come by 2 or more runs.  More astoundingly, since May 15th, 28 of 32 (88%) of Houston victories have come by 2 or more runs, including 20 of 23 on this field.

MLB Pick: Astros (McCullers) -1 ½ R/+150