Those upstart Astros look for continued success as they begin a four-game series with the Indians at the Prog Monday night. They may have their hands full, going against a guy who just about threw a no-hitter his last time out.
Astros-Indians Monday Betting Odds
As of this writing the best line we could find on Cleveland and Carlos Carrasco was the -118 offered at Pinnacle, while 5Dimes was giving Houston and lefty Dallas Keuchel +109. And every book we consulted listed their total on tonight's game at seven runs, with some heavy grease leaning toward the UNDER.
Cleveland just dropped two of three games to Pittsburgh over the weekend, blowing a 3-0 lead and losing Sunday 5-3. The Indians had a five-game winning streak snapped by a 1-0 loss Saturday. At 38-43 Cleveland is nine games back in the AL Central, but only 4.5 games off the pace in the race for the second AL wild-card spot.
Houston, meanwhile, also had a five-game winning streak stopped Saturday in Boston, then blew a late lead and lost Sunday 5-4. Still, at 48-36 the upstart Astros lead the AL West by three games over the second-place Angels.
This is the second meeting this season between these teams; back in April the Indians took two of three from the Astros in Houston. All three of those games played UNDER the totals, as the teams combined to score a total of 10 runs.
Monday's Pitching Match-Up
Carrasco (10-6, 3.88), by our tough standards, is only seven-for-16 on quality starts this season, but running on two great outings in a row. Twelve days ago he held Detroit, one of the best lineups in baseball, to two runs through eight innings, and last Wednesday he came within one strike of no-hitting Tampa Bay, whiffing 13. For the season Carrasco has allowed 90 hits through 97 innings, walked 21 and whiffed 110. Cleveland is 10-6 in Carrasco's starts, with the totals leaning OVER by a 10-6 margin, mainly thanks to some good run support.
In three career starts against Houston, including a winning effort back in April, Carrasco has given up just one run and seven hits through 21 1/3 innings, with 30 strikeouts; the Indians won two of those games, and all three played UNDER.
Keuchel (10-3, 2.03) is 12-for-17 on quality starts this year, and two for his last two. Eleven days ago he blanked the Yankees on six hits, striking out 12, and last Tuesday he tossed eight scoreless against Kansas City. On the season Keuchel has allowed just 88 hits through 124 innings, walked 31 and struck out 102; Houston is 12-5 in Keuchel's starts, with the UNDERS going 10-7.
In three career starts against Cleveland, including a winning effort back in April, Keuchel has allowed just two runs through 23 innings; the Astros won two of those games, with the UNDERS going 2-1.
As far as these two bullpens go we rank both Houston's and Cleveland's in the top ten in baseball at the moment, which leads us to think UNDER for this series.
Monday's Batting Splits
Houston ranks 22nd in the Majors this season against right-handed pitching with a .309 team on-base percentage.
Cleveland, meanwhile, ranks fourth against lefties with a .335 team OBP.
Ballpark Totals Factor
Games played at the Prog this season are 22-16 on the OVERS, averaging 9.4 runs per, seventh-most among ML ballparks.
Houston is playing without slugger George Springer (13 HR), who's on the DL with a broken wrist.
Astros-Indians Monday Free Picks
Our guess is Houston might eventually return to Earth this season, but as for Monday night we believe the value on the line resides with the Astros. How many times have we seen a pitcher throw a no-hitter, or a near no-no, then get clipped his next time out? Also, considering these two starters' track record against tonight's opponents, we're thinking UNDER for our O/U MLB Pick.
MLB Picks: Houston +109 and UNDER seven runs (-116) at Pinnacle