It isn’t baseball season without losing on a balk. The Milwaukee Brewers threw away a 4-1 lead and then surrendered a balk which was ultimately the winning run on Monday. The Twins had little firepower in their lineup last night, but it didn’t end up mattering. Milwaukee are watching their postseason hopes get dashed before their eyes. Those are the games you have to win at this juncture, but they failed to facilitate a complete game-plan on Monday. The Brewers may be fighting to reach the postseason, but one team who are going to have no problems in that regard is the Houston Astros.
The Astros just need to keep it together the rest of the way. In a way, I think they’re getting bored at the moment. They played tremendous baseball all the way through the regular season, and I think they are ready to get the postseason going at this point. The ‘Stros have gone 4-6 in their last ten games, which would indicate one of two things: they are getting bored or slowing down. If they want to get it out of the way, fine, that’s probably for the best. However, if they get too comfortable, it’s not a formula you want to go into the postseason with, especially for a young team. I wouldn’t read too much into a ten-game stretch like that, in any case.
Houston is coming off a crazy 7-6 win over the Blue Jays. The Jays blew it late and the Astros capitalized on their collapse. Despite some small setbacks for the ‘Stros lately, they still have a 15-game lead in the American League West. That tells you how well everything has gone for them this season. When it’s August, and you can lose four of six and still maintain a lead like that, it speaks volumes of how everything has transpired for the Astros. They travel to Chicago where the lifeless White Sox will try and find a heartbeat on Tuesday. Get our free MLB betting pick below.
Houston Astros vs. Chicago White Sox Pick
Dallas Keuchel (9-1, 2.15 ERA) vs. Derek Holland (5-11, 5.27 ERA)
Dallas Keuchel will step up in Chicago this evening, where he looks to put together a stellar performance over the White Sox. For Keuchel, he didn’t pitch at his usual dominant level the last two starts. He allowed 3 runs in each which isn’t very Keuchel like. The Tigers took care of him in just 3 innings, and then he lasted 5 innings against the Rays. I don’t think there’s anything to see here, Keuchel will be fine. He owns a stellar ERA of 2.15 and has been one of the best pitchers in the majors in 2017.
Now, after two rather shaky starts, he comes to pitch against the often useless White Sox. The White Sox are 26th in runs scored per game. As a comparison, the Astros are 1st with 5.91 runs scored a game. In their last three games they’ve averaged 8.67.
I expect Derek Holland to take a beating today. He has a 5.27 ERA and a 6.60 ERA with a 2.00 WHIP in his last three starts. Injuries have taken a toll on him the past few years, as he looks to survive and keep a starting job. Keuchel should come back in a big way and put together a quality outing. The Astros should be able to pummel the poor White Sox, who are looking at their seventh loss in a row.
PICK: ASTROS -1.5 (-140)