Houston (Keuchel) -120 at Texas (Darvish) O/U 8
Yes, May is in the rear view mirror now. But what the Astros did in May has all the makings of continuing right here into June! Houston went 22-7 in May, with a remarkable 14 of those 22 wins coming by three runs or more. They entered June ranked #1 in MLB in batting average, slugging percentage and OPS; #2 in on-base percentage. Their pitching has been every bit as good, Top 5 in baseball in both traditional (ERA) and advanced metric (FIP) stats.
Oftentimes, after a team puts together a huge run like the one the Astros have been on, we can and should expect some regression – after all, Houston isn’t going to win 70% of their games for the full season. But this Carlos Correa quote makes me think that the Astros aren’t about to take their foot off the gas pedal here, especially against hated in-state rival Texas: “I think we’re in a good position right now but I’m not going to get comfortable. We’re going to have to try for more. We’re going to try to be 30 games over .500 if we can.”
Astros starter Dallas Keuchel is still considered a home/road dichotomy pitcher in the broader betting markets; hence the relatively cheap price to support Houston today. In 2015 and 2016, Keuchel went a combined 10-15 on the highway with an ERA approaching 5.00. This year, in five road starts, Keuchel is 4-0 with a 2.57 ERA and the Astros have won all five of those games; clear evidence that this young hurler is maturing into a savvy veteran. It’s surely worth noting that the last time Keuchel faced this Rangers lineup he threw a complete game shutout.
Yu Darvish has been excellent for the Rangers this season, and the Rangers are 8-3 with him on the hill. But Darvish has shown some regression in recent starts; dealing with high pitch counts. Behind him, the Rangers bullpen has been problematic, to put it mildly. Manager Jeff Bannister, talking about his bullpen: “It’s obviously disappointing. However, these are the guys we have, and we need to find a way to get these guys going.”
Texas ranks #29 out of 30 MLB teams with a 5.00 bullpen ERA and they rank #28 in strikeout percentage. That’s a very bad combo against an Astros lineup that has just pounded out 48 runs in their last four ballgames, red hot right now.