A big weekend series finds the Rockies in Cincinnati to meet the fading Reds, plus the AL battle in Houston between the Astros and Indians is part of our free MLB picks slate.
If you’re among the very few who figured the upcoming weekend series between the Colorado Rockies and Cincinnati Reds would significance to the standings, give yourself a pat on the back. Neither team was given much chance to compete in their divisions on the MLB futures odds, yet both teams remain very much in the thick of the races.
Colorado isn’t showing signs of slowing down, while Cincinnati – my choice to have a great shot at losing 100 games in 2017 – is beginning to exhibit signs of coming back down to earth as the clubs prepare for a weekend set in Porkopolis. It has been a very close rivalry overall the past quarter-century with the Rockies owning a very tiny 95-93 advantage, though that record only tells a small part of the story.
While the overall record is close, home teams have dominated in the series with each side playing around .590 ball on their home fields. The Reds did won both 2016 series taking 2 of 3 in Cincy and 3 of 4 in Denver. Two games at Great American Ball Park went ‘under’ the MLB odds, leaving totals 8-7 on this diamond since the start of the 2012 campaign.
It might be time for the Rockies to turn around last season’s series with the Reds and win this weekend set in Cincinnati. Colorado has been a notoriously bad team on the road over the years, going 144-261 (.356) away from Denver in 2012-16 but is 13-6 on the road in 2017.
Indians Thankful To Miss Keuchel In Houston
There’s no question which American League series packs the most punch this weekend, that being the Indians’ trek to Houston to face an Astros team that owns the best record in baseball. Cleveland heads into a 5-game roadie after losing a couple of series this week against Minnesota and Tampa Bay, the 2-4 homestand dropping the Tribe out of the AL Central lead and letting the Twins to claim the top spot there.
Houston, meanwhile, enjoyed its last week on the road by taking 3 of 4 in New York vs. the Yankees and sweeping the Marlins in Miami. Now the Astros have to prove they can beat a team that has given them fits over the years, and Friday’s series opener is part of our free baseball pick lineup.
The good news for the Indians is they won’t have to face Houston ace Dallas Keuchel over the weekend, catching Mike Fiers and Joe Musgrove after facing Charlie Morton in Game 1. The only game the Indians dropped to Houston in Cleveland about three weeks ago was as an underdog against Keuchel, who is putting up Cy Young-worthy numbers so far (7-0, 1.84 ERA, +6.2 units). Totals bettors will want to give the ‘under’ a hard look after eight of the last 10 at Minute Maid between the clubs never reached the marks.
Kershaw Could Face Both Cardinals & Cubs Next Week
Chavez Ravine is the place to be next week when the Los Angeles Dodgers host a couple of NL Central powers. It starts Tuesday against the St. Louis Cardinals, and I’m expecting Clayton Kershaw to be matched up against Lance Lynn in that one. Kershaw has been -180 or thicker chalk in each of his starts, and we’ll likely see him -225 against a Cardinals lineup that he’s held scoreless in LA over his last two regular season assignments.
The reason I expect Kershaw to go in that series opener is he will have extra rest with an off day before the Cards come to town, plus it would allow him to pitch on regular rest in the series finale later next week against the Chicago Cubs. If rotations hold true, Jon Lester will be pitted against Kershaw in that contest.