We have an exciting day of baseball on tap for you today as there are fifteen games on the Major League Baseball slate. The Yankees and the Red Sox renew the best rivalry in all of sports in Boston, with the Yankees on a record-breaking tear at the plate. The Dodgers and Rockies play in Colorado and will try and top the 33 runs they have combined to score in the first two games of the series tonight, in game three.
Other notable games are matchups between the Chicago Cubs and Minnesota Twins, with both teams eyeing the postseason. The White Sox and the Reds square off, with Cincinnati all of the sudden in contention in the National League. And the Phillies host the Blue Jays, in a game where both teams badly need a win to secure their playoff spot.
— Arizona Diamondbacks (@Dbacks) September 19, 2020
For today’s free daily betting pick, we are going to head to Houston, where the Astros host the Arizona Diamondbacks in game two of a three-game series, desperately hoping they can snap out of their recent funk.
Arizona Diamondbacks (20-32) at Houston Astros (25-26)
Things went from bad to worse for the Houston Astros today, as they announced that ace starting pitcher Justin Verlander, was done for the year and will need surgery. The Astros will try and brush off the bad news, as they still have work to do to make the postseason. Houston hosts the Arizona Diamondbacks tonight in game two of three after losing to Arizona last night in the series opener.
For Arizona, the DBacks are buried in last place of the National League West Division, a whopping seventeen games back of the first-place Los Angeles Dodgers. The DBacks did manage to win their last series, against the equally awful Los Angeles Angels, and with the win in game one of this series with Houston, have won three out of their last four games.
Starting for the Astros is rookie Cristian Javier (4-2 3.22 ERA), and for the DBacks, it is Luke Weaver (1-7 6.70 ERA). The game total over/under is set at nine runs. The Astros are -155 home field favorites. First pitch is scheduled for 4:10 PM PST from Minute Maid Park in Houston.
The Arizona Diamondbacks have sixteen losses this year as road underdogs. It is just not a spot that they have had much success in this season. That’s not to say that they have had much success in any other situation either, though. This year has been all about losing for Arizona, and with just a handful of games left on the schedule, the DBacks will enter the offseason with a lot of questions that need to be answered.
One of those questions is going to be, who is going to start games for them next season? They traded away former ace, Robbie Ray, and the trade deadline and Madison Bumgarner all of the sudden is starting to look old and washed up, and the fact that Arizona just gave him $85 million is quickly looking like an awful deal for the DBacks that they are sure to regret. Merrill Kelly has shoulder problems, and at this point, Zac Gallen looks like the only starter in Arizona that can be relied upon to be at least serviceable on the mound.
Luke Weaver (1-7 6.70 ERA)
One guy that Arizona will likely need to move on from in the offseason if they plan on winning games next year, is Luke Weaver. Weaver has been absolutely terrible this season, as his ERA of nearly seven runs is one of the worst qualifying numbers in the league. The DBacks haven’t won with Weaver on the mound in nearly six weeks, and on the year, in his ten starts, they are just 2-8.
He has been a little bit better here lately, but even with his slightly improved results, the DBacks have still lost each of his three September starts. Weaver has pitched past the fifth inning just twice all season long, and six times he failed to make it past the fourth inning in a start. He starts games, get hammered early, and is back on the bench before the other team can even bat around a second time, in most of his starts.
The epic collapse we have seen from the Houston Astros in the last month likely won’t end up costing them their place in the postseason. That’s because the two teams chasing them in the American League West, the Seattle Mariners and the Los Angeles Angels, have both hit a wall in the last week as well. Seattle has lost seven out of their last ten games and are still three games back of Houston. The Angels have been a little better, going 5-5 in their last ten, but are 3.5 games back with just a week left to play.
That means this Houston team is still going to end up playing in the postseason, despite losing eleven out of their last fifteen games. And it’s not like they are losing to good teams either, as they have recent losses to the DBacks, Rangers, and Angels, all teams with really bad records on the year.
Can Houston find a way to turn things around before the end of the regular season to give themselves some shot at winning a playoff series? Well, they better, as they play in Seattle, against the Mariners, for three games in their next series, and if they get swept, they could be done for the year, if they can’t turn things around quickly.
Cristian Javier (4-2 3.22 ERA)
Most of the talk surrounding the Houston Astros starting rotation this season has been about who isn’t in it anymore. There is no Gerrit Cole, as he bolted in free agency in the offseason. And there is no Justin Verlander, as he has been hurt the entire year and was just shut down the rest of the season today. But one guy that is pitching, and is having a lot of success, is rookie Cristian Javier.
Cristian Javier has acquitted himself well, in this, his first season in the big leagues. Javier made a name for himself as a flame thrower in the Minor Leagues, as he racked up epic strikeout numbers, and while he hasn’t been able to reproduce the K rate he enjoyed in the minors, he has been quite good. In his one career start against the DBacks, coming on August 4th, Javier dazzled against the DBacks, holding them to just one run on only four hits in six innings, and picked up his first-ever winning decision for his efforts.
Who Do I Like?
Well, I guess somebody has to win this game! Both of these teams have played terrible in the last several weeks, but one of these teams is going to win tonight and win this series tomorrow. Wins are wins in the Major Leagues, and right now, the Houston Astros need one badly, and they don’t care if it comes against one of the worst teams in the game.
I like the Astros today at home. Cristian Javier has been unbelievable good at home this year. In four home starts, he is 3-0 with a 1.80 ERA, and opposing batters are hitting just .111 against him. He has been inconsistent on the road, but at Minute Maid Park, this kid has been elite, and I expect him to shut down this weak-hitting DBacks team that is 27th in the game in runs scored and homers for the second time this season.
I have this fun little trend that I have been following for nearly the entire season. When Luke Weaver pitches, I bet on the other team. I have bet against Weaver in each of his last five starts, and he has yet to let me down, as he has lost all five games. The DBacks have only won twice all year when he has pitched, and in one of those two wins, he allowed more runs than innings pitched, when he got blasted for four earned runs in just 3.2 innings but the offense bailed him out.
The Astros have been bad, but they are going to find a way to win this game at home. The loss in game one yesterday was very fluky, as the Astros have been one of the best home team as favorites in the game this year. Houston has eighteen home wins when favored, second to only the New York Yankees, and their .750 home winning percentage when favored is elite.
Weaver will get smashed, Javier will be strong, and the Astros win this one, likely by multiple runs. I am never a big fan of taking the home team on the run line, a sit is just too risky of a proposition, but if you were ever going to gamble in a spot on a home run line, this would be it. I will leave it up to you if you want the extra sweat, or if you just wanna snatch up the free money. Give me the Houston Astros as home field favorites tonight in game two from Minute Maid Park!