The Toronto Blue Jays and Houston Astros will resume a three-game series when they square off at the Rogers Centre in Toronto on Tuesday night. Houston took the opener on Monday, extending its winning streak to four games. The Blue Jays’ setback was their second in a row and third in the last four contests.
Houston has no problems
The Astros have been the hottest team in the majors in September, and their success this month has them on the verge of clinching consecutive division titles for the first time since winning three in a row from 1997-99. A fifth straight victory on Tuesday would help them take one more step toward making that a reality. Brian McCann and Josh Reddick connected on back-to-back homers in the second inning as Houston raced out to a four-run lead after three frames and held on for a 5-3 win over Toronto in Monday’s series opener. The Astros, who are 17-4 in September, lowered their magic number to win the American League West to two. Houston (99-57) also only needs three victories over its final six contests to tie the 1998 club for the most wins in team history.
Right-hander Josh James (1-0, 2.81 ERA) is taking the mound for Houston on Tuesday. James secured his first major-league victory last Tuesday against Seattle, allowing four hits and two walks while striking out seven across 5.1 scoreless innings in his second career start. He earned his promotion at the beginning of the month by going 6-4 with a 3.23 ERA and mowing down 171 batters in 114.1 innings over two minor-league stops. James has struck out 24 across 16 innings in four big-league appearances and is holding hitters to a .172 average entering his first start against Toronto.
Not exactly the summer of Sam
Kevin Pillar homered Monday for the Blue Jays, who have dropped four of six following a four-game winning streak and have lost three in a row to the Astros. Yangervis Solarte went 2-for-4 on Monday to lift his batting average in nine career games against Houston to .387.
Sam Gaviglio (3-8, 5.18 ERA) will oppose James on Tuesday. The right-hander is winless over his last four outings and has not lasted 6.0 innings during this stretch, including last Thursday’s no-decision against Tampa Bay in which he surrendered two runs over 5.0 innings. Gaviglio has not fared particularly well since joining the rotation for good in mid-May, posting a 2-8 record and 5.30 ERA in 22 starts. Houston’s Evan Gattis has homered twice in three at-bats against the 28-year-old, who has given up seven runs in 12.0 innings while losing both of his career starts in this head-to-head matchup.
The Toronto Blue Jays are:
- 7-16 in their last 23 games against the American League West
- 7-19 in their last 26 games against starters with WHIPs under 1.15
- 2-8 in Gaviglio’s last 10 starts
The Houston Astros are:
- 23-7 in their last 30 overall
- 48-18 in their last 66 road games
- 42-15 in their last 57 games against teams with losing records
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
The Astros are 5-2 in the last seven meetings between the two teams. With a victory on Tuesday, the Astros will match a club record by going 43 games over .500. If Houston can win its final six games at Toronto and Baltimore, it will tie the 2001 Seattle Mariners (59-22) for the best road record in major-league history.
Prediction: Houston Astros
Full-Game Total Pick
Gaviglio is saddled with a 6.06 ERA at night this season compared to 3.97 during the day. He posted a 5.25 ERA in 12.0 innings of work against Houston in 2017. The over is 6-1-1 in the Astros’ last eight against right-handed starters. It is also 8-3-1 in the Blue Jays’ last 12 against opponents with winning percentages over .600, 4-1 in their last five against the American League West, and 5-1 in Gaviglio’s last six home starts. Additionally, the over is 8-2-1 in the last 11 meetings between the two teams and 4-0-1 in Houston’s last five on the road against Toronto. Look for this one to go over the total.
First Five Innings Side Pick
Houston is one fire right now and there is no reason to think it will slow down with Gaviglio opposing as Toronto’s starter on Tuesday. The Astros bats are likely to continue bashing.
Prediction: Houston Astros -170
First Five Innings Total Bet
The Astros have been finding plenty of success against right-handed starters of late and Gaviglio is certainly no exception. Expect a fair amount of runs to be scored early and often on Tuesday.
Prediction: Over 5