Zac Gallen (1-2, 3.15 ERA) vs. Zack Greinke (3-2, 3.77 ERA)
The Arizona Diamondbacks and Houston Astros are scheduled to meet for the next three days at Minute Maid Park in Houston. The Diamondbacks are coming off a 7-3 loss against the LA Angels in Anaheim. They were winners on Wednesday, but dropped two of three games in that meeting with the Angels. Alex Young didn’t last long last night, as he was torched for 8 hits and 6 earned runs through 2.2 innings of work.
With a record of 19-32, the Diamondbacks are outsiders in the postseason race. They’ve been sellers over the last two years, which included sending Zack Greinke to the Houston Astros last year. Their most reliable hitter, Paul Goldschmidt, was shipped out to St. Louis in a deal with the Cardinals two years ago. It was hard to expect much from the Diamondbacks in 2020 and the results certainly reflect that.
The Astros are in the post-cheating era and they’re finding out what it’s like to have a target on their backs. They’re also finding out what it’s like to play without getting tipped off at the plate. The Astros are in the postseason race, though, and they might find a way to get in despite a record of 25-25 at the moment. The ‘Stros would be in if the season started today.
The Blue Jays are the final team in the American League postseason with a mark of 26-23, so there are no guarantees for Houston. They are coming off a close 2-1 win over the Texas Rangers after dropping a 1-0 decision the day before. In the first meeting of the series, the Astros were backed by a strong performance from Jose Urquidy for a 4-1 win. Framber Valdez was the latest Astro to get hot on the hill.
Former Diamondback, Zack Greinke, will be assigned to the hill to face his ex-employer on Friday night. It’s been a fine season for Greinke, but he could be better by his standards. Greinke getting hot, along with a healthy Justin Verladner returning, will be imperative to a long postseason run for the Astros.
They are not going to get by on offense alone. 25-year-old Zac Gallen, who has developed into the new ace of the Diamondbacks, is scheduled to counter for the visitors. Head below for our free Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Houston Astros pick for September 18, 2020.
Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Houston Astros MLB Betting Odds:
Arizona Diamondbacks vs. Houston Astros Prediction:
The Astros aren’t going to be able to cheat their way through the postseason this year. Any help they get offensively will have to come from a poor pitching performance. The Astros scored 5.51 runs per game for fourth in the major leagues last season. This season they’re averaging 4.80 runs per game for 12th.
That sounds about right. The Astros are a mediocre offense when they aren’t getting help. Zac Gallen will hope to make them look foolish on Friday night in Houston. Gallen is coming off his worst performance of the season last week. Gallen was cruising along until he faced the Mariners.
The Mariners, of all teams, hammered Gallen for 7 hits and 7 earned runs through 5 innings. Exhibit A on why you should practice bankroll management. It was hard to see Gallen getting blown up like that. His ERA went from a 2.29 to a 3.15 in just one start.
In any event, Gallen has allowed 2 or fewer runs in eight out of ten games this season. Despite the poor outing, the Diamondbacks are still fully confident in Gallen going forward. The Astros have been in a rut offensively recently, with just 8 runs in their last four outings, so this might be an opportunity for Gallen to fire right back.
Greinke has been serviceable with an ERA of 3.77 and 1.06 WHIP. He’s looking for a better response after getting roughed up versus the Dodgers. The Dodgers nailed Greinke for 8 hits and 5 earned runs through 5 innings. He’s been a better pitcher at home with an ERA of 3.14 and 1.05 WHIP.
Greinke has held the opposition to a .234 batting average at Minute Maid. Arizona has been one of the worst teams offensively in the majors with 4.24 runs recorded per game. That ranks 24th in the majors going into Friday. Following two iffy starts by Gallen and Greinke, expect them to show that they’re much better pitchers than that tonight. This looks like a 4-2 or 5-2 final score at Minute Maid Park.