The Houston Astros completed a sweep of the Los Angeles Angels with a 6-2 win on Sunday. They may have won, but they lost Charlie Morton in the process. Morton exited the game with a shoulder injury in what has been the best season of his career. That could hurt the ‘Stros greatly, as he’s one of the more unheralded guy in a rotation filled with talent. Early reports suggest he just had some shoulder discomfort, but we’ll see what the official word is. If it’s just a precaution, then he should be good to go in October for the postseason.
With the win yesterday for the Astros, and an Athletics loss, the Astros only need to win two more games to clinch the NL West. For a team like them, I don’t think that’s a reason to celebrate, because the real season is just starting for them in October. After winning a World Series, the division doesn’t really mean much. If the Athletics somehow stage a next to impossible comeback, the Astros would take a wildcard. Highly, highly improbable.
On the surface, this isn’t going to be the biggest start for Dallas Keuchel in the next few weeks. However, he has not looked good recently, certainly not like an ace. So, Keuchel is going to use tonight and his next start as an opportunity to sort things out and get back on track. He doesn’t want to go into the postseason cold. It’s difficult for a pitcher to flip a switch, even for a guy like Keuchel who is one of the better hurlers in the major leagues. Marco Estrada didn’t get the bounce back season he was looking for this year. It’s been rather rocky for him. He’s just looking to finish strong and head into the offseason. Head below for our free Astros vs. Blue Jays pick.
Houston Astros vs. Toronto Blue Jays Pick
Dallas Keuchel (11-11, 3.71 ERA) vs. Marco Estrada (7-13, 5.57 ERA)
It doesn’t look good for the Athletics in the AL West, but the Astros just want to put this thing away now and not allow it to carry on into the week. A strong performance from Keuchel would help them out in that regard. Keuchel is coming off a shaky outing, as he allowed 6 hits and 5 runs in 5 innings against the Seattle Mariners. Three starts ago, the Red Sox got to him for 5 runs as well.
The Red Sox offense is the best in baseball, so that’s something he may have to be ready for in the postseason if they meet. In his last three outings, Keuchel enters with an ERA of 6.35 and 1.65 WHIP. That doesn’t look like Dallas Keuchel numbers. He goes into Rogers Centre without allowing a home run against this lineup. In 73 at-bats the Jays are hitting .260 against Keuchel and not a single long ball. Keuchel has been better on the road than at home this season, with a 3.52 ERA compared to 3.90 at Minute Maid.
The Astros are hitting .280 with a .317 OBP against Estrada in 118 at-bats. Tyler White, Josh Reddick, and Evan Gattis have all taken Estrada deep. Estrada has been a shade worse than Keuchel in his last three outings, with an ERA of 6.75 and 1.43 WHIP. Unlike Keuchel, that’s been the norm with Estrada. He heads into Monday with a 5.57 ERA and 1.41 WHIP. I expect Keuchel to get back on track against the Blue Jays. There are going to be some gasps if he gets hit again tonight, but he likely comes out strong and responds to his critics. This looks like a 6-3 or 5-3 Astros win.