Arizona and Houston kick off an interleague series on Friday night at Minute Maid Park. The Astros have a three-game lead over the A’s in the AL West heading into Thursday’s action. The D’backs have fallen off pace to 3.5 games back in the NL West.
D’backs’ rough week could cost them the NL West
It’s been a rough series so far for Arizona, who dropped two of the first three games against NL West-leading Colorado this week. Going back to their four-game series against Atlanta, a team that’s expected to win the NL East, they went 1-3 against them. For the most part, pitching has really gotten away from this team. They’ve got a whopping 5.22 team ERA over their last 10 games, with most of that damage coming from a terrible bullpen.
Probable starter: Left-hander Robbie Ray (5-2, 4.18 ERA)
Luckily for the D’backs, one of the better anchors on this starting rotation is Ray. The team has lost a lot behind him this summer, but now they’ve gone 3-2 in his last five outings. He had an ND against Atlanta, giving up two earned runs on two hits through six innings.
Astros relief has been the anchor of their victorious stretch
Houston has returned to their standard form of dominant pitching, which is not something Arizona wants to hear coming into this series. The Astros have a stunning 1.65 bullpen ERA over their last 10 games, though they’ll have to move on without reliever Brad Peacock (2.98 ERA). Not appearing since September 5th, he’s been dealing with hand, foot, and mouth disease and it’s unknown when he’ll make a return.
Probable starter: Left-hander Dallas Keuchel (11-10, 3.59 ERA)
Keuchel hasn’t taken a personal loss over his last four starts, and he was lucky that streak continued against Boston. The team lost 6-5 with him giving up five earned runs on nine hits through six innings. The offense almost bailed him out completely, but couldn’t do it.
- 5-0 in their last 5 home games
- 4-0 in their last 4 against left-handed starters
- 1-5 in their last 6 road games
- 3-8 in Ray’s last 11 starts
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
One problem for the Astros, despite this recent success, is how limited the offense has been. It hasn’t mattered with solid pitching holding mostly everybody at bay, and it certainly won’t matter with how bad the D’backs have been performing recently.
Prediction: Houston -180
Full-Game Total Pick
The total is a tough one to navigate because while Houston has been shutting down the opposition, Arizona has been incredibly volatile in that department. Because Ray has been a firm starter on the mound, the under looks much more intriguing here.
Prediction: Under 8