It’s another loaded day of Major League Baseball as 15 games hit the schedule, 16 if you want to include the remainder of the D-backs/Reds contest that was suspended due to rain last night.
So, let’s jump right into the action with this Astros vs. Rockies MLB Pick from Coors Field in Colorado!
- Season Record: 5-2
- Units: +2.78
Astros vs. Rockies Betting Odds
- Astros (-142)
- Rockies (+131)
- Astros -1.5 (+105)
- Rockies +1.5 (-125)
- Over 10 (-117)
- Under 10 (-103)
Astros vs. Rockies MLB Pick Breakdown
All the sudden an extremely key member of the rotation — if he wasn’t already — takes the ball for Dusty Baker in this one as right-hander Jose Urquidy makes his fourth start of the season, looking to build on some extremely positive results from his first three.
The 25-year-old enters this one sporting a 4.50 ERA on the season, but most everything else points to positive regression. He also owns a 2.26 FIP, a 3.61 xFIP, 3.61 xERA and 3.40 SIERA. Furthermore, the righty has struck opposing hitters out at a 10.69 K/9 clip against just 2.25 walks per nine, giving him an excellent 4.75 K/BB ratio while keeping the ball in the yard at a fantastic 0.53 HR/9 rate, or one homer allowed in 16 frames here in 2021.
While those peripherals suggest he’s been much better than his 4.50 ERA, the Statcast metrics are far more middling. Nonetheless, this is a young pitcher that enters this one sporting a 3.63 ERA/3.77 FIP for his career while displaying excellent command by way of his 1.97 BB/9 clip. That said, his 2021 fly-ball rate of 48.8% could get him hurt at Coors Field despite allowing just 32.6% hard contact, as per FanGraphs.
Keep in mind Urquidy also hurled a 4.14 ERA across 15.2 innings in the 2020 postseason and owns a 2.81 ERA across 25.2 postseason innings for his career as well, so he’s largely been a high-quality pitcher so far in the big leagues all by the age of 25.
The Astros’ offense has been a bit of a whirlwind here this season as they are current missing some key bats due to MLB protocols, something that’s certainly hurt them of late.
The ‘Stros have lost eight of their last nine games, averaging just 2.55 runs per game during that time. Their lone victory over the last nine included just one run of offense as Zack Greinke hurled an eight-inning gem over the Mariners on Saturday.
After a white-hot start to the season, they’ve certainly been cooled off. Even after their lull over the last week and change, however, the Astros still sit 11th with a .318 wOBA on the season and tied for fifth with a 111 wRC+ as well. The power has subsided some as they rank 13th with a .160 ISO on the season, but they’ll certainly be looking for more in this one after scoring just two runs in the series opener last night despite the vast hitter-friendly nature of Coors Field.
Slugger Yordan Alvarez is available off the bench after being removed from the league’s protocol list, and Alex Bregman has already returned to the lineup. The lone regular not available it would seem would be Jose Altuve as he remains on the list and is unlikely to be available for this one tonight.
If there is an opportunity to bust out offensively, it’s certainly a Coors Field in what appears to be a nice matchup.
Here’s where things get dicey for the Astros in this one as their bullpen is beat up big-time at the moment has produced subpar results with what they have to work with.
Entering this one, the Astros’ bullpen ranks 25th with a 4.70 ERA on the season while their 4.79 FIP and 4.47 xFIP are nothing to write him about, either. Home runs have been an issue by way of their 1.52 HR/9 that ties them for 26th league wide.
They do rank eighth with a 35.4% hard-hit rate against, as per Statcast, but they also sit 27th with a 10.4% barrel rate against as well, hence the elevated home run total.
It’s difficult to blame them as a handful of key arms aren’t available due to injury. That list would include Blake Taylor (ankle), Framber Valdez (finger), Josh James (hip), Pedro Baez (shoulder), Enoli Paredes (upper-body) and Andre Scrubb (shoulder). That’s certainly a lengthy list of arms, most of whom would be full-time bullpen regulars while Valdez and James will likely chip in starts if they can regain their health moving forward.
For now, it’s the likes of Ryan Pressly, Brandon Bielak, Bryan Abreu and Ryne Stanek doing the heavy lifting, and those four arms have been productive for the most part, perhaps save for Abreu and his 4.82 ERA. Stanek has been a big pleasant surprise with a 2.89 ERA/2.94 xERA across 9.1 innings of work spanning a team-high nine appearances.
The Rockies will counter Urquidy with left-hander Austin Gomber as the former St. Louis Cardinal makes his fourth start of the season. Interestingly, his results have been the opposite of Urquidy in the sense that he’s out-pitched his suspect peripherals.
In addition to a solid 3.52 ERA through the first three starts and 15.1 innings of his Rockies tenure, Gomber also owns a 4.63 FIP, 5.48 xFIP and 4.70 xERA in addition to an ugly 6.02 SIERA that suggests he just hasn’t been very good here this season.
The main stats that those iffy peripherals stem from would be an ugly 7.63 BB/9 clip, a tiny .189 BABIP against versus his career .296 mark while his 66.3% strand rate is well under his 74.3% mark. One thing that Gomber has somehow been able to do in his big-league career is limit home runs as per his 7.7% HR/FB rate. A 33.4% career Statcast hard-hit rate against combined with a suppressed 35% fly-ball rate will certainly help due that, but you don’t see a HR/FB rate at 7.7% or better very often. I’d still suggest that number grows some as we’re still dealing with a rather small 119.1-inning sample size so far in his big-league career.
He’s been able to limit damage despite the walk issues, and those aren’t exclusive to this season as he owns a career 4.53 BB/9 rate and with some weak Statcast metrics to boot, I would suggest Gomber is in for some regression, especially while making his home starts at Coors Field.
Even with Nolan Arenado around over the last couple of seasons, the Rockies’ offense was slipping from the elite production they received during the primes of someone such as Charlie Blackmon, but it’s a group that’s certainly regressed of late.
A late three-run homer from C.J.Cron helped propel the club to a six-run night last night, but they’ve still just managed 4.25 runs per game over their last four, a weak total given all four games came at Coors Field. Over their previous six — all on the road — the runs-per-game average was just 1.83, a stretch that included back-to-back shutouts, one in San Francisco and one in Los Angeles against the Dodgers.
Clearly, they’re scuffling. The Rockies enter this one tied for 26th with a .288 wOBA on the season, but also sit dead last by a wide margin with a 66 wRC+. In other words, with park factors included, the Rockies offense has been a whopping 34% below league average this season.
Even if we eliminate the Coors Field effect, the Rockies are still a middle-of-the-pack home offense with a .312 wOBA that is tied for 15th while their 68 wRC+ at home checks in at 29th league wide.
Shockingly, Trevor Story has struggled mightily. The Story trade watch was supposed to be a hot stove topic this season, but the soon-to-be free agent has yet to hit a homer while slashing just .270/.299/.365 with a .283 wOBA and 63 wRC+ across 67 trips to the plate. The Rockies would surely like to get more value from him than they did in trading Arenado as it’s unlikely he re-signs with the rebuilding club, but at this rate it’s not going to happen.
We’ll see if Story can get going in this one, but he doesn’t have much of a supporting cast to work with in Denver these days regardless.
Once again, the Rockies are dealing with big-time issues in their bullpen as they once again sport one of the worst groups in the business.
It’s been that way for a couple of years now, and the Rockies currently sit 28th with a 5.56 bullpen ERA on the season and 27th with a 4.82 FIP from that group. Walks and home runs have been an issue with a 4.29 BB/9 and 1.43 HR/9.
If you’re looking for positives, their 38.2% Statcast hard-hit rate against sits at a more palatable 17th while their 8.4% barrel rate sits 18th. Still, those are bottom-half-of-the-league figures and when combined with their ERA/FIP/xFIP numbers, it still isn’t a pretty picture.
The Daniel Bard comeback tour is once again a success this time around with a 14.85 K/9 and 3.52 FIP while Mychal Givens, Jhoulys Chacin, Jordan Sheffield and Robert Stephenson have been serviceable.
Still, it’s not a group anyone is going to hang their hat on, but they are coming off a solid effort last night in which they pitched 2.1 clean innings in support of Jon Gray, out-dueling the Houston bullpen in the process.
Astros vs. Rockies MLB Pick
This Astros lineup might not be at capacity right now with Altuve out and Alvarez forced to the bench with the DH rule not in effect in an NL park, but I still believe this is the superior offense in this matchup to be sure. Keep in mind elite bats in Michael Brantley, Alex Bregman and Carlos Correa remain while Kyle Tucker could end up that category as he matures at the big-league level.
Story is going to go off at some point, but he’s been awfully quiet while Blackmon has similarly struggled with a 60 wRC+ on the season. If it weren’t for Ryan McMahon’s early-season home run binge, their number would look much worse as he’s even cooled off and owns just a .277 OBP on the year.
While I’ll consider the bullpens a wash as both groups have scuffled early on, the starting pitching advantage is with Houston here. Urquidy has been better than Gomber in their small big-league samples, but I’d be extremely worried about Gomber regression given unsustainable BABIP, strand rate and walk numbers this season. Urquidy does not have those concerns.
Add it up and I’ll simply go ahead and grab the Astros here to come back with a win tonight on the moneyline.