The Houston Astros came a couple of runs short of sweeping the Dodgers over the weekend, but they still took two of three in Los Angeles. The Astros took a 3-2 loss on Sunday as their sweep attempt was blocked by the Dodgers. Gerrit Cole pitched a nice game, but Walker Buehler was able to outduel Cole on this occasion. If everything goes according to plan for these teams, they will be seeing one another again in the World Series.
The Dodgers just have to worry about reaching the postseason at this point. They will have to fight for it, either by fending off the Diamondbacks or getting in as a wildcard. The Dodgers didn’t trade for Manny Machado to not even get a crack at the postseason, and the way it’s looking now, they’re currently on the fence. Don’t underestimate the Diamondbacks who could ultimately sneak it. On paper, the consensus is going to be that the Dodgers elude the D-Backs and pull away, but that’s why they play the games on the diamond.
The Astros are sitting pretty in the AL West with a 4-game lead on the Athletics. The Athletics? Oh, yeah, the A’s have done a magic trick and stormed all the way back to snatch the lead for the final wildcard, and still have an outside shot of winning the division. Unlike the gutless Yankees at the moment, the Athletics are showing a lot of effort and heart. That can take a team far, but we’ll see how far it can actually take them. There are a lot of intriguing storylines as we head into the final stretch of the regular season, and the A’s run is another one that is worth keeping an eye on. The Giants are still alive, but are treading water in the NL West. They’re 5 games behind the Astros for the divisional crown, and another 5.5 back for the final wildcard. Both scenarios look highly unlikely for the Giants to pull off. Head below for our free Astros vs. Giants pick.
Houston Astros vs. San Francisco Giants Pick
Charlie Morton (12-2, 2.90 ERA) vs. Dereck Rodriguez (5-1, 2.59 ERA)
The leading pitcher on the Giants is not Madison Bumgarner. While he’s been good, Dereck Rodriguez has led the way with his 2.59 ERA. He hasn’t allowed more than 2 runs since June 19th against the Marlins. That was eight starts ago. Rodriguez has held down some good offenses as well, including the Cubs, Diamondbacks, Athletics, and Brewers. The Brewers were the only team of the group that were able to score more than a run off Rodriguez. Yes, Dereck is Pudge Rodriguez’s son. He isn’t a catcher like his old man, but his career has been excellent thus far, just like Pudge’s throughout his entire career. He has a LONG road ahead of him if he wants to be a Hall of Famer like his father, but he’s done everything right up to this point. Nevertheless, I really think the Giants have something special with him.
In his last three appearances, he’s been on point with a 1.86 ERA and 0.83 WHIP. Besides the 14 runs they put up Saturday night and 8 against the Mariners, the offense has been stale for the Astros since the break. It coincides with the loss of Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa. Altuve hoped to see the field against the Dodgers, but ended up back in Houston getting revaluated yesterday. He will be out again for this series.
The Astros’ pitching has been the catalyst, with guys like Charlie Morton, Justin Verlander, and Dallas Keuchel spearheading the pitching staff. Morton enters with an ERA of 2.90 and 2.92 ERA on the road. In 112 at-bats, the Giants have failed to hit a long ball off Morton. They’ve done an average job with a .259 batting average, but getting the ball up and deep has been an ongoing challenge for them. This game should be dominated by pitching with Morton and Rodriguez dueling on Monday in the Bay. I’d take a look at the UNDER in San Francisco if you are looking for some late baseball action.