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The Cincinnati Reds are looking to get some home cooking against the Houston Astros on Tuesday night.
Astros working through injuries
The Astros have got out to another strong start to begin the season behind their deep and balanced roster that has them sitting comfortably atop of the AL West standings on pace to make a strong run toward the playoffs once again. They have been able to find much success early on in the season despite dealing with injuries to key players on the roster for certain stretches along the way. This has seen their bats continue to be among the most productive in the majors as they are currently ninth in runs scored, sixth in hits, 10th in doubles, fourth in home runs, third in batting average, and second in slugging percentage. This has seen them continue to chug forward even without the services of either of their star infielders in Jose Altuve and Carlos Correa for significant chunks of the season so far. In response to that, it has seen star third baseman Alex Bregman take the next step in his development as the anchor of their batting order currently batting .265 while leading the team with 19 home runs and 48 RBi on the year. He is coming off a strong month of May where he hit 12 home runs and drove in 24 runs during that span.
— Houston Astros (@astros) June 15, 2019
These injuries have also opened up an opportunity for standout rookie outfielder Yordan Alvarez, who has been a spark plug in the offense with his production as he’s batting .346 with four home runs, eight RBI, eight runs scored in seven games played. This saw Alvarez become the first player in team history to hit a home run in his first two games played in the majors. He is also just the fourth player since at least 1908 to notch four home runs in his first five games played. Alvarez has become must-see each time he steps to the plate with his impressive power and effectiveness from the get-go. Meanwhile, the Astros will be turning to Justin Verlander to get them back on track after a disappointing 3-2 loss on Monday. Verlander has been off a Cy Young award-worthy start as he holds a 9-2 record with a 2.41 ERA, a .152 opposing batting average, and a league-best 0.73 WHIP. He is also coming off a career-best 15 strikeouts in his last outing against the Milwaukee Brewers. His presence on the mound should be more than enough to help push things back in the right direction.
Reds looking to make playoff push
Through the first half of the season, the Reds have worked through their fair share of ups and downs. Cincinnati is currently under the .500 mark on the year while having lost six out of their last 10 games despite having won the last two straight contests. This has kept them just inside the picture for the wildcard race as they are 6.5 games behind both the Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia Phillies for both playoffs positions. A vast majority of this has come in the way of their bats struggling to put forth consistent production on a nightly basis. The Reds are currently ranked 25th in runs scored, 26th in hits, last in doubles, 26th in batting average, and 22nd in slugging percentage. They have had any reliable production from their lineup that has been quite evident through the issues that offseason addition Yasiel Puig has had this year as he’s batting .229 on the season with 13 home runs and 37 RBI.
— Cincinnati Reds (@Reds) June 16, 2019
Star first baseman Joey Votto has taken another step down in his production this year as he’s hitting .253 with six home runs and 16 RBI. Votto’s continued downswing has impacted the Reds’ offense as he hasn’t been the typical reliable factor at the plate. If they hope to compete with the Astros, it will need their bats to pick it up, especially with this tough matchup ahead on Tuesday night against Verlander, who is pitching some of his best baseball in quite some time. This will also put pressure on right-hander Anthony DeSclafani to step it up as he holds a 3-3 record with a 4.43 record on the season through his first 13 starts. DeSclafani has pitched well in his last two outings where he’s 1-0 while giving up one run in each appearance. If the Reds hope to rack up their third straight win, it will need the 29-year-old to put forth a strong outing at home against one of the most balanced offenses in the league.
- Reds are 1-6 in DeSclafani’s last seven home starts.
- Reds are 0-5 in DeSclafani’s last five home starts against a team with a winning record.
- Reds are 1-7 in their last eight interleague home games.
- Astros are 10-1 in Verlander’s last 11 starts against a team with a losing record.
- Astros are 6-1 in Verlander’s last seven starts following a team loss in their previous game.
- Astros are 25-5 in Verlander’s last 30 road starts.
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
It has been a highly impressive season from Verlander that should continue against the Reds. He has been at the top of his game coming off a career-best outing that should see him push past Cincinnati on Tuesday night. All of this has the making of them getting back on track on the road.
Prediction: Houston -150
Full-Game Total Pick
Verlander’s presence on the mound should set the tone for what will be a lower-scoring affair against the Reds. Houston will be able to hold their end of the deal, but it will be Cincinnati’s struggles against the former Cy Young award winner that pushes this below the over/under line. The under is also 10-3 in Verlander’s last 13 starts overall.
Prediction: Under 8