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Yankees vs. Astros Pick MLB – June 25th

We are just about at the halfway mark of the baseball season, and most of the division races are starting to tighten up. The AL East, despite being argueably the most mediocre division, is undoubtedly the most hotly contested. The top four teams are separated by just four games and even the last place Red Sox are only 8 ½ games back and still possess a lineup most expected to contend for the pennant. Meanwhile, the Central and West are tightening up a little in the AL as well, and I think it is about time to look for a move in the West as the Astros begin to regress to the mean a little bit. I wrote it a few weeks ago and got accused of being a hater of the ‘Stros – not true. I simply can’t ignore that a team hitting just .241 (13th in the AL) is vulnerable and ripe for the overtaking.

Meanwhile, the Nats are opening up a lead, due mostly the violent regression to the mean for the Mets and the overwhelming lousiness of the rest of their division, and the Giants and Dodgers are attempting to shake the Paul Goldschmidt’s and make the West the two team race.

And then there’s the Cards. Scandal? Injuries? Who cares. The Redbirds keep rolling along and are still on pace to win over 115 games. But… they are just 9th in the National League in batting average and runs scored and tenth in home runs. Can they possibly keep up this insane pace? I’ll be keeping an eye on them and looking out for the backslide that is still very likely, despite a staff ERA of a ridiculous 2.69 (1st in the NL by a nearly 0.30).

Let’s get an early start to a winning weekend tonight.

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Today’s Free Pick:

New York Yankees +136 at Houston Astros -144 (Total: 7)

Warren (5-4 , 3.62 ERA) vs. Kuechel (8-3 , 2.35 ERA)

So wait a second, I tell you the Astros are poised for a fall, not going to win the West and might warrant some fading in the wagering department… and now I’m back on board? Let’s explain. No. The Astros are not going to win the West. They just aren’t. But Dallas Kuechel is money and will continue to keep them near the top simply by being awesome every five days. I expect him to fare well at home tonight against the Yankees.

Many of the young Astros struggles this season have come on the road. Tonight, in their home ball park they are looking to win their 17th game in 21 attempts. It makes sense too, they are a pitching-centric ballclub playing in a pitcher-friendly ballpark. Plus, young teams often don’t travel as well, though the discrepancy isn’t as stark in baseball as in other sports.

Meanwhile, the Yankees continue to linger near the top of the AL East and in playoff position, and despite the relative age of their roster, have been a pretty healthy ball club. But Adam Warren is another stark case of home/road split discrepancy. He has a 2.24 ERA at home but is just 2-3 with a 4.88 ERA away from the Bronx. And even though Houston’s average is lousy as a team, they do sore enough runs most nights. So far this season they’ve give Kuechel an average of over four runs in support, which has been plenty for the guy with the third-best ERA in the AL.

I’ll take the ‘Stros at home today, and think they’ll win with some breathing room. The -144 line is by far the safer play, but I feel a little more adventurous today, so I’m splitting the pick with the -1.5 runline to try and dollar cost-average out to a slightly above even money wager.

Free Pick: Houston Astros to WIN -144 & Houston -1.5 (+155)