The Houston Astros couldn’t finish off the Baltimore Orioles yesterday as massive favorites. They went in as -400 favorites but came out of the game with a loss in the 9th against the Orioles. In the grand scheme of things, it’s not a problem for the Astros. They still won two of three games, including a 23-2 gong show on Saturday night. Roberto Osuna just had a rare off day yesterday in Baltimore. The O’s got to him for 3 runs to erase what was a 7-5 lead for the Astros minutes before in the top of the 9th.
Prior to the loss, the Astros were on an eight-game winning streak. They had just one loss since July 27th, so it was bound to come to sooner or later. Most people didn’t think it was going to come against the Orioles with a 2-run lead in the top of the 9th, though. In any event, that game was a lesson to people who like to lay giant juice. There were undoubtedly people who had to find out the hard way that nothing is a guarantee when it comes to sports.
The Astros are almost to the point where it’s going to be a guarantee that they win the AL West, however. While the Athletics are hanging tough in the wildcard race, the Astros have a ten-game advantage on them. Barring something crazy occurring, Oakland are not coming back to win the division. Houston are favorites among many people to win the World Series because of their incredible pitching depth. Zack Greinke was added to bolster the starting rotation and give what looks like an unstoppable rotation for the postseason.
Greinke did not get off to a hot start in his debut as an Astro. The pressure is going to be on him now after relaxing in the desert with a non-competitive Diamondback club. He has dealt with anxiety in the past, so it might be something to remember come the postseason.
An August 12th matchup against the White Sox shouldn’t bother him too much. The White Sox were blanked by the Athletics by a score of 2-0 yesterday. They fell to 52-64 on the season with the loss. Dylan Cease is a sizable challenge on his hand this evening, but he can take solace in what happened to the ‘Stros as massive favorites on Sunday.
Houston Astros vs. Chicago White Sox Pick:
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It wasn’t a picture perfect debut for Greinke in an Astros’ uniform, but his team was still able to get the win over the Rockies. Houston recorded a 11-6 victory in what turned into a back and forth came before the Astros opened the game up late. Greinke hopes to do away with that game from his memory bank and focus on the White Sox.
Overall, he has been dangerous with an ERA of 3.08 in 152 innings of work. He did have his ERA below 3.00 before playing in his first game with the Astros, though. That ERA of 2.90 went up to 3.08 because of his poor debut in Houston.
The White Sox haven’t been able to generate anything against Greinke in the past, so this should present a nice opportunity for him to get his first quality start out of the way as a member of the Astros. Note that the White Sox are hitting just .222 with 2 runs scored in 54 at-bats against Greinke. Expect him to bounce right back to make it look relatively easy against the White Sox on Monday night. Greinke should be dealing with solid run support from his offense in this one.
Despite the loss for the ‘Stros on Sunday, the offense was destroying the ball again. They have averaged 11.6 runs per game in their previous five games, including 30 runs in their last two games alone. Dylan Cease will be facing this lineup for the first time in his career Monday. He has been over par thus far in his career, with an ERA of 6.00 and 1.55 WHIP in six outings.
It hasn’t been against the best of offenses either, other than the Twins a few of his opponents were creampuffs. Half of the starts in his career have been against the Tigers and Royals. Note that Cease has posted a 6.75 ERA and 1.59 WHIP at home. In the hottest offense he’s had to tame, look for the Astros to open up the floodgates and pound Cease in this matchup. It’s an expensive price for a runline, but I still think the ‘Stros have this by at least 2 runs tonight.