Arizona Diamondbacks (71-84) vs. Houston Astros (102-53)
The Arizona Diamondbacks and Houston Astros wrap up their two-game set at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas, on Wednesday night with the first pitch at 8:10 PM ET.
Arizona and Houston split a two-game series at Chase Field back in April, while the opening contest of this series, an Astros win, has been excluded from the analysis. The Astros are firm -185 money line favorites for Wednesday’s closer, and the D-backs are +170 road dogs with a total of 6.5 runs.
The Diamondbacks hope for another gem from Zac GallenThe Arizona Diamondbacks entered Tuesday’s clash at Minute Maid Park looking to bounce back from a 3-2 defeat at the San Francisco Giants. It was their 14th defeat in 20 games, and the D-backs haven’t won the series in more than three weeks. Arizona holds the lowest OPS in the majors in September, slashing a poor .219/.281/.368 with 27 home runs across 818 at-bats.
Unfortunately, they lost 10-2 on Tuesday, their 15th loss in their last 21 games.
On the pitching side of things, the Diamondbacks have compiled a serviceable 3.61 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, and .235 opposing batting averages over the last couple of weeks in 124.2 innings pitched. However, their bullpen has recorded an underwhelming 4.44 ERA and 6.7 K/9 in that span.
Game 155. pic.twitter.com/WW07NjBNRn— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) September 27, 2022
Zac Gallen will get the starting call Wednesday. The 27-year-old righty boasts a 12-3 record in 29 starts this season (172 innings pitched) along with a shiny 2.46 ERA, 0.89 WHIP, and 180/43 K/BB ratio. He’s been terrific since the All-Star break, tallying a microscopic 1.15 ERA and 1.57 FIP through 78.1 innings of work (12 starts).
Last Thursday, Gallen dominated the mighty Dodgers lineup at Dodger Stadium in LA. Zac fanned 13 across eight stellar innings, allowing just one earned run on a pair of hits in a no-decision (Arizona lost 3-2 eventually).
The Astros are comfortably topping the American LeagueWhile the Diamondbacks have been eliminated from the NL playoff race, the Houston Astros are cruising through the American League. Houston was six and a half games ahead of the New York Yankees on Tuesday, and the Astros will almost certainly earn the No. 1 seed in the American League. They beat the Diamondbacks Tuesday 10-2 for their third straight victory and 14th in their last 16 games.
Coming home with 101 wins and a division title. pic.twitter.com/LjuLjUDw7K— Houston Astros (@astros) September 25, 2022
The Astros’ pitching staff continues to dominate its rivals. Houston has posted a sparkling 2.62 ERA, 1.03 WHIP, and .205 opposing batting average in the last two weeks and 117 innings of work. The Astros’ bullpen has tossed 39.1 frames in that span, racking up a strong 2.75 ERA and 11.9 K/9.
Justin Verlander will toe the slab Wednesday, hoping to bounce back from a tough loss at the Baltimore Orioles this past Thursday. The O’s beat the Astros 2-0, and Verlander yielded a couple of earned runs on six hits through six frames while punching out four. The 39-year-old righty is now 17-4 with a tremendous 1.82 ERA, 0.84 WHIP, and 167/27 K/BB ratio in 26 starts (163 IP) in 2022. He’s recorded a 1.51 ERA and 1.48 FIP in ten starts (59.2 IP) since the All-Star break.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
Both Zac Gallen and Justin Verlander have been outstanding lately. Verlander will torture the D-backs, and Gallen will try his best to slow down one of the most dangerous lineups in baseball. The Astros are slashing .251/.311/.434 with 19 home runs in their last 438 at-bats. They are playing in a much better form than Arizona, so give me the hosts to win straight up.
The Astros’ offense and bullpen should make the difference. If you’re not satisfied with the money line odds, you can opt for a fun line, but with Zac Gallen on the mound, the Diamondbacks are a tricky rival. Arizona is 9-6 in Gallen’s last 15 starts, and four of those six losses have come by a single run. On the other side, the Astros have covered a 1.5-run spread in seven of their last eight wins.
Full-Game Total Pick
I haven’t seen a 6.5-run line in a while, which tells you a lot about the starting duo in this matchup. Also, Minute Maid Park is not a pitcher-friendly environment, but the bookies still expect to see a proper low-scoring affair.
The Astros could easily shut down the Diamondbacks behind Justin Verlander and their powerful bullpen. Hereof, I’ll take the under, though you never know with the Diamondbacks’ bullpen. Still, six of Gallen’s last nine starts have seen six or fewer runs on the scoreboard. Going with the under on the totals through the first five innings is another interesting option in this matchup.