There's always a danger a rookie will hit "the wall," but I'm hoping San Francisco's Chris Heston can avoid such fate, when he goes against Astros in the finale of a quick 2-game set out by the Bay.
Astros-Giants Wednesday Odds
As of early Wednesday AM the best price we could find on San Francisco with Christopher (“Keep Your Stinking Paws Off Me”) Heston was the -128 offered at BetOnline, while Houston with Scott Feldman was getting +125 at 5Dimes.
San Francisco grabbed Game 1 of this series Tuesday night 3-1, behind a complete-game effort from Madison Bumgarner and two homers from Brandon Belt. The victory snapped a four-game losing streak for the Giants, while Houston has now lost four in a row and seven of its last eight.
At 60-52 San Francisco trails first-place Los Angeles by 2.5 games in the NL West, and now trails the Cubs by 3.5 games in the battle for the second National League wild-card spot.
Meanwhile, at 61-53 Houston, in danger of fading, after leading the AL West almost all season, now sits just one game ahead of second-place Anaheim in that divisional race.
Heston (11-6, 3.48), by our strict standards, is 12-for-22 on quality starts this season, but 0 for his last two. Eleven days ago he gave up three runs and seven hits in less than five innings against Texas, and last Thursday he coughed up five runs in four innings against the Cubs. Prior to that, though, Heston held foes to three runs over his previous four starts, covering 28 innings. On the season Heston has allowed fewer hits, 122, including just seven homers, than innings of work, 135, walked 39 and struck out 102.
San Francisco is 14-8 in Heston's starts, with the totals leaning OVER by a 12-9 margin, in part because, we were somewhat surprised to discover, he's given up at least five runs six times. He's also gotten some decent run support.
In Heston's only career start against Houston, back on May 12, he was beautiful, tossing a complete game, giving up just one run and two hits, walking none while whiffing 10, in an 8-1 Giants victory at Minute Maid Park.
Feldman (4-5, 4.46) is seven-for-14 on quality starts, and two for his last three. Last Thursday he held Oakland to two runs through six innings, and over his last three starts he's allowed six runs through 19 innings. For the season Feldman has permitted more hits, 93, including 11 homers, than innings pitched, 85, walked 19 and struck out just 47.
The Astros are 6-8 in Feldman's starts, with the totals splitting 7-7.
This will be Feldman's first start against San Francisco since April of 2013, when as a Cub he gave up six runs – two earned – through 4 1/3 innings of a 7-6 Chicago loss.
Wednesday's Batting Splits
Houston ranks 23rd in the Majors against right-handed pitching with a .245 batting average, and 23rd with a .308 team on-base percentage.
San Francisco, meanwhile, ranks second against righties with a .273 average and first with a .330 team OBP.
Ballpark Totals Factor
Games played at AT&T Park this season are skewing UNDER by a 32-19 margin, averaging 7.0 runs per, second-fewest among all ML ballparks.
Astros-Giants Wednesday Free Picks
In expectation of a bounce-back performance from Heston we'll give San Francisco the check mark in the pitching match-up, and the Giants also own an edge with the bats. So we'll fade Houston today, and perhaps for the rest of this season. Also, these two bullpens should help keep this game UNDER its total.
MLB Picks: San Francisco and UNDER (+107) at Pinnacle