Tampa Bay Rays (55-53; 59-46-3 O/U) vs. Houston Astros (69-37; 58-41-7 O/U)
MLB: Thursday, August 3, 2017 at 8:10pm EST
Line: Houston -155/Tampa Bay +145
The Houston Astros and the Tampa Bay Rays will conclude a four game series Thursday evening from Minute Maid Park. The Rays will give the nod to 24-year old left-hander Blake Snell, and 30-year old right-hander Colin McHugh will take the mound for the Astros. The Astros lead the season series 3-2.
Snell Hunting for First Victory of Season
Blake Snell will get the nod for the 14th time of the season, still in search of that elusive first victory. Snell allowed three runs in 5.1 innings to the Yankees five days ago and finished with the no decision in a game the Rays lost. The young right-hander has allowed three of fewer runs in four straight starts and is now carrying a 4.87 ERA and a 1.55 WHIP to go with an 0-6 record in 68.1 innings pitched. He took on the Astros earlier in the season and conceded three runs in five innings and has now allowed eight runs (seven earned) in eight career innings against Houston. Evan Gattis and Jose Altuve have both homered off Snell. The Rays need to get Logan Morrison going during the stretch as the slugger has only homered once since the middle of July. The 29-year old first baseman is having a strong season, hitting .248 with a team-leading 27 home runs and 64 RBI’s. Morrison is 3 for 18 with two homers and three RBI’s against the Astros this season.
The Rays are currently averaging 4.60 runs per game, ranking them 17th in the Majors, and are hitting .252 as a team. The Tampa Bay pitching is carrying a solid 4.21 team ERA, positioning them 12th overall.
McHugh Silences Tigers, Targets First Win of Season
Collin McHugh will make his third start of the season, aiming for his first victory. McHugh came through with a stellar performance in his latest start five days ago, holding the Tigers to only one run in six innings and finished with the no decision in a game the Astros lost. The veteran right-hander conceded four runs in 4.2 innings to the Orioles in his only other start this season as he made his return from an elbow injury. He does own a terrific 2.94 ERA in four starts against the Rays however he has not been rewarded for his efforts as he took the loss in all four starts. Evan Longoria is 0 for 11 against McHugh, while Logan Morrision is 4 for 13 with four RBI’s, and Brad Miller is 3 for 17. Evan Gattis has been swinging the bat well all season for the Astros as he platoons with Brian McCann behind the plate. Gattis has collected 12 hits along with along with six RBI’s over his last ten games, and is now sporting a .284 average with 11 home runs and 45 RBI’s.
The Astros potent lineup is averaging a Major League best 5.92 runs per game, and feature a sizzling .291 team batting average. The Houston pitching has been strong, sporting a 4.20 team ERA, ranking them 11th in the Major Leagues.
The Tampa Bay Rays are:
- 1-7 in Snell’s last 8 starts.
- 1-12 in Snell’s last 13 starts on four days of rest.
- 1-4 in Snell’s last 5 road starts.
The Houston Astros are:
- 9-2 in McHugh’s last 11 starts.
- 13-4 in McHugh’s last 17 starts against a team with a winning record.
- 41-14 in their last 55 games against a starter with a WHIP greater than 1.30.
I am going with the Astros however my stronger play is on the total. McHugh has shut down the Rays by posting a 2.94 ERA in four career starts, and the Rays lineup is only hitting a combined .167 against him, so I can’t see the Rays scoring many runs. Furthermore, Snell does not benefit from much run support and he does not pitch deep into the game, so the Astros should get to him and the Rays subpar bullpen.
Pick: Houston Astros -155
Snell has been steady and has kept his team in the game against some strong lineups, and McHugh looked great in his previous start. Snell has allowed three or fewer runs in four straight starts and the under is 12-4-1 in the Rays last 17 games in the fourth game of a series. McHugh has limited the Rays to only seven earned runs in 25 innings, and he looked good in his second start of the season five days ago, plus the under is 4-0 in McHugh’s last 4 starts against the Rays.