Raise your hand if you thought the Royals and Astros would be atop of the leaderboard. I suspect that the number of hands up wouldn’t include that many people. If you told me the Royals would then that isn’t the most outlandish statement. But predicting the ‘Stros would be playing the way they’ve been would have been a bold prediction. I thought the Astros were two or three offs from being a very good team; however, they sped the process up with a booming start to the 2015 campaign in the first-half. Baseball is a long process, a marathon that takes months of work to achieve the ultimate goal. Thus, the Astros have had a heck of a run so far, but they’re going to need to perform in the tail-end of the season as well. Houston would love to be the Royals of 2015, in that sense that the Royals making the World Series wasn’t in the cards for a lot of people. I can’t say that the Astros are either this season. However, I think in the coming years they are going to become the favorites in those same peoples’ eyes.
A nice three win streak for us by backing some low scoring games. More of the same yesterday in the Rangers and Blue Jays game. No way should the lines makers have had that as a total of 9. Without looking into the game deeper, I can understand how people would think the OVER was the correct play. The Blue Jays have been hot at the plate, and there is a perception that the Rangers possess a vaunted offense, which couldn’t be more false at the moment. There were no indications from the way Chi Chi Gonzalez and Drew Hutchison have been pitching that it was going to turn into a high scoring affair. A total of 8 should have been a more appropriate number for that game. But hey, I’m not complaining and I’m happy we were able to take advantage of what I see as a mistake from the books. Back to today, where I look deeper into the Royals and Astros for Monday night.
Kansas City Royals vs. Houston Astros
Joe Blanton (2-0, 1.73 ERA) vs. Lance McCullers (3-2, 2.33 ERA)
Joe Blanton could have one of the best bounce back x10 seasons of all time. I put the x10 because in ten years Blanton has never had a strong, signature campaign I can turn to that makes me feel very impressed about him. This would be the first if he keeps it up. I’m not feeling so confident in him, though. I suspect that he is going to hit a wall rather shortly and we see the real Joe Blanton. A 1.73 ERA is an impressive feat, but note that he came from the bullpen to the starting rotation not that long ago. He only has two starts to his credit thus far.
Looking on the other side, Lance McCullers, I believe is going to be a mainstay in the Astros’ rotation if he can stay healthy and avoid the injury bug. Young talent is littered across the Astros, from the offense to the pitching. McCullers is no exception. In his first season in the majors with the Astros, McCullers has already generated an excellent ERA of 2.33 in 46.1 innings pitched. At home he has been quite strong, posting a 1.17 ERA with a 0.91 WHIP and .250 OBP. This might be the blow-up game that I’ve been waiting for from Blanton. I look for McCullers and the Astros to defeat the Royals at home Monday night.
PICK: ASTROS TO WIN -126