Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#921 Baltimore Orioles 9 vs.
#922 Houston Astros -230
Saturday, June 8, 2019 at 4:10pm EDT
Written by Chris Altruda

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Baltimore Orioles at Houston Astros

When and Where: Saturday, June 8, Minute Maid Park, Houston, Texas, 4:10 p.m. EDT.

The Houston Astros’ search for a fifth starter continues Saturday when Framber Valdez makes his first start of the season as the AL West leaders continue their series against the Baltimore Orioles.

Cashner winning ugly but winning all the same for O’s

Andrew Cashner (6-2, 5.04 ERA) is looking to match a season best by winning a third straight start, though his earned run average has actually gone up nearly one full run in winning his last two.

The right-hander was pushed back two days from his scheduled Thursday start due to leg soreness, which gives him seven days of rest entering this contest. Cashner labored to a win over San Francisco on May 31, giving up a season high-tying six runs and walking a season-worst five in five innings as Baltimore recorded a 9-6 victory.

“It was probably one of the worst starts of my career,” Cashner told the Orioles official website after surviving a five-run first in which he threw 46 pitches. “I never really got in a groove with anything. I was yanking my fastball. Breaking ball was short. My changeup was terrible. I kept telling myself to get through the fifth, save the bullpen as much as possible.”

Cashner has not faced the Astros since 2017, which may be a good thing considering he is 1-6 with a 3.56 ERA in eight career starts against them. His lone win came at Minute Maid Park in August 2017, and the righty has allowed three or fewer runs in five of those eight starts.

Cashner will be happy to not face injured Astros second baseman Jose Altuve, who is 9 for 20 with a homer and two doubles in their matchups. Michael Brantley is 3 for 5 with a pair of doubles while Yuli Gurriel is 4 for 9 with two two-baggers.

Valdez tries to succeed where McHugh, Martin have failed

After parting ways with Dallas Keuchel in the offseason, the No. 5 spot has been one of the few problem areas for the AL West-leading Astros despite a spate of injuries to position players.

Collin McHugh was the original fifth starter, but his early struggles led to Corbin Martin being called up. Martin had two good starts before enduring struggles of his own, which led to manager AJ Hinch turning to Valdez (2-2, 3.12).

The left-hander earned this chance with four shutout innings of two-hit relief Monday night following Martin at Seattle, picking up the win as Houston held off the Mariners 4-2.

Valdez made five starts as a rookie for the Astros last year, going 2-1 with a 2.59 ERA. He did not last more than 5 1-3 innings in any of them due to walking 18 batters in 24 1-3 innings, but the southpaw also held opposing hitters to a .193 batting average in those games.

Valdez made one relief appearance versus the Orioles last year, yielding one run in 2 1-3 innings with three walks.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

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The expectation is Valdez will try to get through five innings or 80 to 85 pitches. He is still a mystery of sorts, with his walk rate of 4.5 per nine innings too high to consider chasing an alternate run line of 2.5 runs for the Astros.

Still, there is plenty of confidence in the Astros knocking around Cashner and outslugging the Orioles to post a victory in this contest.

Prediction: Astros -1.5 runs (-125)

Full-Game Total Pick

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The over is trending with Cashner, going 4-1 in his last five starts and 8-2 in his last 10 overall. Additionally, the over is 6-2 in Cashner’s last eight starts in the second game of a series. The Orioles righty has also served up at least one gopher ball in six straight starts while yielding four or more runs in four of them.

The feeling is a softball game could break out at Minute Maid Park with these two pitches, and a sub-10 over/under makes for a very strong pick for the over.

Prediction: OVER 8.5 runs (-115)

Full-Game Prop Bet

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There is confidence in this pick with Cashner’s struggles to keep the ball in the park along with his overall lack of consistency. The Orioles right-hander has given up five or more runs in four of his 12 starts on the season, and three of those outings came on the road. The other expectation is for the Astros to pick up offensively to give Valdez help after Friday’s narrrow win.

Prediction: Astros OVER 5 runs (-121)

First Five Innings Side Pick

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The Astros are 5-1-1 after five innings in their last seven games after scrambling to tie the Orioles in Friday night’s series opener. Baltimore has led just once after five frames in its last six contests (1-4-1), and the expectation is Cashner’s struggles will catch up to him in this game while Valdez does enough early to keep Houston in front.

Prediction: Astros -0.5 runs (-155)

First Five Innings Total Bet

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This is a pick against Cashner along with the realization Valdez will probably give up a run or two because of his command issues to help the over clear comfortably. The five-inning over is 7-3 in Cashner’s last 10 starts.

Prediction: OVER 5 runs (-115)

First Five Innings Prop Prediction

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The Astros are worth a flyer here because when Cashner does run into trouble with the long ball, it is early in the contest. Nine of his 11 homers allowed have come in the first three innings, and the righty has a 7.50 ERA in the opening frame and a 9.00 ERA in the third.

Prediction: Astros OVER 1.5 runs first 3 innings (+105)

Written By Chris Altruda

A 1994 graduate of Marquette University when they were known as the Warriors and Brooklyn native, Chris Altruda is a freelance sportswriter based in Chicago. He has worked at three major U.S. wire services and also has prior experience in sports handicapping and daily fantasy roster building. Now that the Cubs have won a World Series, he holds out hope the Jets will win a Super Bowl before he dies. Can be followed on Twitter at @AlTruda73.