After making the postseason last year, the Astros are slowly but surely becoming a force in MLB. It all starts with their rotation and Dallas Keuchel has become a flatout beast. At +1600 odds to win the World Series, the Astros are definitely a viable option as this is a team that's only going to get better.
After a 20-8 record with a 2.48 ERA, Keuchel has emerged as one of the best pitchers in the MLB. He came up a big in a pressure packed game in which Houston was the road team in an American League Wild-Card game at Yankee Stadium and that speaks volumes.
Keuchel provides the Astros with a ton of innings as he pitched 232 innings last season at almost a strikeout per inning while allowing just 185 hits. That comes out to a .217 batting average that opposing hitters managed to muster up against the left handed superstar.
Keuchel is a pitcher that excels at home and apparently, he also excels in the postseason as he possessed a 2-0 record with a 2.57 ERA. I actually think that he tailed off a bit towards the end of the regular season or his numbers would be that much more impressive. Regardless, this is the guy you want on the mound if you're Houston.
Almost But Not Enough....
This is being a bit harsh as I'm referring to Colin McHugh's 19 win season last year. McHugh was only one win away from the Astros having two 20 game winners and I don't recall that being done for a while. Nevertheless, how can you go wrong with a 1-2 combination such as this?
The only slight negative thing that I might mention is that McHugh's ERA was 3.87 and with the record that he had, that means he was provided a ton of run support. That said, he still had to win the games and win he did.
McHugh's numbers aside from his record weren't overwhelming, but the one thing that made his 2015 slightly more appealing is that he pitched a ton of innings and didn't allow the long ball too often; just like Keuchel.
In the #3 spot is pitcher Lance McCullers. McCullers had just a 6-7 record in 125 innings (22 starts), but the record is certainly not his fault as he sported a 3.22 ERA.
When being a starting pitcher, it's the luck of the draw on the amount of run support that you're going to receive. McCullers also had one start in the postseason and nailed it, allowing just 2 runs and 2 hits while striking out 7 batters in 6 1/3 innings. This is a pitcher that can pitch under pressure.
Fister and Feldman
You know if these are the Astros #4 and 5 pitchers, this is a strong rotation as Doug Fister carries a career 3.42 ERA and Scott Feldman is a journeyman, but provides experience and has put forth some really strong performances throughout his up and down career. Either one of these pitchers can produce a gem.
A move from Washington to another major contender might just be the incentive that Doug Fister needs to have an above average season.
As for Feldman, he held his own last season. In just 108 innings, he had a 3.90 ERA. The interesting stat about Feldman is that he pitched to a 2.36 ERA on the road, which is worth considering before placing your MLB picks.
As I stated before, this is strong pitching staff combined with a strong overall offense. Making the Astros your future bet at +1600 MLB odds at Bovada is a fine decision as good pitching wins games and the Astros offense has some young superstars ready to bust out and contend with the Royals.