The term, you play with fire and you get burned comes to mind this morning as I look at what happened last night. We took the Milwaukee Brewers on the run line against the Cincinnati Reds. Everything about this game felt like a blowout to me. I felt like we were getting way the best of the starting pitching matchup and were backing the much better team in the Milwaukee Brewers. The Brewers jumped out to a 3-0 first inning lead and it felt like we would cruise to an easy win and cover.
Instead, the Brewers bullpen decided they just wanted to keep this game close all night long. The Brewers had not one, not two, but three different three run leads in this game. But the Brewers bullpen gave up runs in the sixth, seventh, and eighth innings, and Milwaukee won the game 7-6 and failed to cover the run line. It was a painful way to lose a game as we looked so good all game long. It wasn’t until the Reds Alex Blandino’s solo shot home run in the bottom of the eighth inning that I didn’t love our side of the bet. This one is going to sting as we narrowly missed out on what would have been a very juicy +135 payout. For today’s game I am going to look at a blockbuster matchup between the New York Yankees and Houston Astros.
The New York Yankees are in Houston Wednesday for game three of a four game series with the Astros. Coming into this series it felt like this could very easily be a playoff preview as both of these teams should be playing meaningful games come October. And it has lived up to that billing as these games have had a playoff atmosphere and been very tightly contested. Houston took game one 2-1 behind yet another dominant start from Charlie Morton. Morton pitched seven and two thirds and gave up just one run on two hits and struck out ten in the Astros victory.
Game two was just as competitive as the game hit the ninth inning at 0-0. Verlander pitched amazing, going eight strong shutout innings and striking out fourteen. But the Astros closer, Ken Giles came in and blew the game. Giles got rocked for four runs in just a third of an inning, with Gary Sanchez blasting a three-run bomb to give the Yankees the win. Game three offers another blockbuster pitching matchup as New York will start Luis Severino (4-1 2.61 ERA) and the Astros will start Dallas Kuechel (1-4 4.00 ERA). The Yankees are -130 road favorites. The game total over-under is set at seven and a half runs. First pitch is scheduled for 5:10 PM PST from Minute Maid Park.
What an awesome series this is. Two of the best team in all of baseball and they are both playing hard. The Yankees came into this series as baseballs highest scoring team and led the majors in basically every offensive category. Yet this elite Houston starting rotation has completely shut them down. Before their explosion in the ninth last night, the Bronx Bombers had scored just one run in seventeen innings against Houston. Things aren’t going to get an easier tonight for the Yankees as they must face former Cy Young Award winner Dallas Keuchel.
Dallas Kuechel has had a weird start to the season. He is 1-4 but really has only had one bad start. In his first five starts of the year, Keuchel never gave up more than three runs in any one start and gave up two or less in three starts. He was a bit of a hard luck loser in a couple of those games, but his 1-4 record is quite deceiving. Kuechel has finished with an ERA of under three in three of the last four seasons, he is as good as it gets in the American League.
You can expect another low scoring game tonight as the Yankees will start what is likely their best arm in Luis Severino. Severino dazzled last season in his first full season as part of the Yankees rotation. Severino struck out 230 guys and finished with an ERA of just 2.98. This season has started great for the young right hander as well. Severino is 4-1 on the season with an ERA of 2.61 and has thirty-five strikeouts in thirty-five innings pitched.
It is only May 2nd, so I don’t want to start overstating things, but this is the best series of the year so far. Both teams are competing and neither wants to give up anything. This feels like playoff baseball in May! So, where do I draw the line here tonight, in game so seemingly evenly matched?
Dallas Kuechel has not been his normal dominating self so far this season, but he has been good, and I expect that tonight we will see the best Kuechel we have seen all year. Keuchel always seems to rise to the occasion when his team needs him most. This is a classic pitcher’s duel and I love the idea of getting to back Kuechel at home as an underdog. I can’t remember the last time I saw the Astros as home dogs with Kuechel on the mound. It has likely been years since that was the case. I am not going to let that opportunity slip past me tonight.
No knock on Severino, that guy is nasty, and at just twenty-four years old has a long career ahead of him. But for tonight’s game, I am taking what I believe to be the best team in baseball by a wide margin at home, as underdogs.
Give me the Houston Astros +110 tonight in game three!