It was an ugly few days for the Astros, as they nearly got swept by the Oakland Athletics. Houston blew a 4-0 lead in the 9th inning on Tuesday, but managed to get a crazy win in extras. This was following a 2-0 loss Monday. The Astros went on to lose their next two by scores of 8-3 and 6-4. In the 6-4 loss, the ‘Stros gave up 6 unanswered runs to watch that lead disappear.
Ken Giles wasn’t there to mess it up, so Astro fans can’t blame him for that failures on Thursday. It’s important not to read too far into anything, though. The A’s swept the Astros last season and what happened there? Oakland wasn’t a postseason team and the ‘Stros went on to win the World Series. It’s easy for fans to overreact, but it isn’t football where every game is ultra important. The best baseball teams will still lose a series here and there.
The Astros had won six games in a row prior to their lapse against the Athletics, so it isn’t like this has been a sustained drought for Houston. They will take on the Detroit Tigers at Minute Maid tonight, as the Tigers are looking to snap a five-game losing streak. That’s to be expected with the Tigers. Castellanos is the only guy in the lineup hitting above .300 and the only piece that is tradable for a team looking to win now.
The Victor Martinez and Miguel Cabrera contracts have been such a drain on the Tigers’ wallet, but no one wants to take that money on. The Tigers are stuck with Miggy for the foreseeable future. Mike Fiers, the Tigers’ starter tonight, could be a guy they look to move at the deadline. He’s been pitching his best since 2015 with the Astros. Fiers will take on his former team, the same team he won a World Series with a year ago. We’ll see if he uses it as motivation tonight. Dallas Keuchel, who hasn’t been at his best in 2018, will look to give his stats a bump with a nice start against the Tigers. Head below for our free Tigers vs. Astros pick.
Detroit Tigers vs. Houston Astros Pick
Mike Fiers (6-5, 3.65 ERA) vs. Dallas Keuchel (6-8, 3.95 ERA)
Dallas Keuchel is on the verge of watching his ERA eclipse 4.00 for the first time since 2016. He bounced back to help the Astros win a championship in 2017, with an ERA of 2.90, but 2016 is a season he doesn’t want to visit again. Keuchel has looked fine in his last two starts, though, as he held the Rangers to 2 runs and the White Sox to 1 run. Those aren’t fantastic offenses and neither are the Tigers. Like I noted, Castellanos is the only hitter to worry about in the lineup. Keuchel has allowed 2 or less runs in four of his last five outings.
They’re 23rd in the majors with 3.99 runs scored per game. That number is a little all over the place, too. They’ve had some games where they’ve scored 7 or 9 runs to bring that number up. Expect them to usually score less than 4 runs, though. Fiers pitched in Houston for the last two years, so there isn’t a lot of history against the hitters he is facing this evening.
However, the Astros have made it count with a batting average of .304 in 23 at-bats. I think this is going to be a nice bounce back spot for the Astros. Keuchel will likely use this as an opportunity to bring his numbers up against a bad offense. Conversely, Fiers hits a pothole in his return to Houston to face his former squad. Fiers has been asked why he has been this much better in Detroit than Houston last week. I think part of it has to do with a lack of pressure. Against his old team, there will be some pressure to want to show them up. The Tigers catch a good team who want to get their frustration out on Friday. Unfortunately for them, they just happen to be the team scheduled this weekend in Houston.