The Arizona Diamondbacks powered their way to a victory on Friday in the opening game of their series with Houston behind a pair of home runs from Kole Calhoun. The Diamondbacks improved their overall record 20-32 following their 6-3 victory. However, it was only one victory and Arizona remains in last place in the National League West a distant 17 games out of first place.
Houston lost another game in its chase to catch the Oakland Athletics at the top of the American League West with their loss on Friday. Houston is now seven games behind Oakland with just nine games remaining and it appears as the Astros must settle for second place. Houston leads third-place Seattle by three games and must hold off the Mariners down the stretch to guarantee a spot in the postseason.
Diamondbacks are equally poor at the plate and the moundAlthough Arizona displayed some power in its victory on Friday over the Houston Astros with two home runs off the bat of Kole Calhoun, the slugging percentage for Arizona is just .377 which is 26th in baseball. The team batting average for the Diamondbacks is .233 which is just the 22nd in baseball and Arizona's 222 runs scored is 21st. Calhoun has a team-high in home runs with 14 as well as RBIs with 35 and the highest batting average for regulars is the .290 of Ketel Marte.
It doesn't get any better on the mound for Arizona. The leader in wins is Merrill Kelly with three, while Zac Gallen has a team-high 72 strikeouts and the best ERA for starters at 3.00. As a team, Arizona has an ERA of 5.05 which is 23rd in baseball while its 1.47 WHIP is 26th. Opposing hitters are averaging .257 at the plate against Arizona pitching which is 23rd in all of baseball. Starting on the mound for Arizona on Sunday will be off-season free-agent signing Madison Bumgarner. The lefthander this season has not lived up to expectation at 0-4 with an atrocious 8.53 ERA. Arizona has lost three of the lefthander’s last five starts.
Lack of consistency hurting HoustonAt a time when Houston needs to put together a run of victories, the Astros have alternated between wins and losses in each of their last seven and have played poorly for most of the second half of the MLB season. At the plate, Houston is averaging just .239 as a team which is 20th best in baseball and has scored the 13th most runs at 243. George Springer has a team-high 11 home runs and Kyle Tucker has the lead in RBIs with 40 while Carlos Correa is leading all regulars in batting average at .270.
The starting rotation for Houston has the fifth-best Quality Starts with 21 but the team ERA is just 4.43, which means the bullpen has not held up its end of the bargain this season. Opposing hitters are averaging .240 at the plate against Houston pitching, which is 13th in baseball while the WHIP of 1.34 is 16th. Framber Valdez has been the most consistent starting pitcher for Houston and leads the Astros in wins with four and strikeouts with 68. Houston will hand the ball to Jose Urquidy, who this season is 1-1 with a solid 2.70 ERA.
- Arizona has lost 13 of the last 19
- The Diamondbacks have lost 12 of the last 16 on the road
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Houston has not played that well the second half of the season but will have Jose Urquidy on the mound who is 1-1 with a 2.70 ERA versus Arizona's Madison Bumgarner who is 0-4 and has an ERA in excess of 8.00. On the road, Arizona has stunk up the joint with 12 losses in its last 16 and the Diamondbacks overall have lost 13 of the last 19. The Astros also have much more to play for as they are trying to hold off the third-place Seattle Mariners in the American League West, while Arizona has one foot out the clubhouse door looking to next season.
Prediction: Houston Astros -1.5
Full-Game Total Pick
With a starting pitcher that has an ERA in excess of 8.00 the probability that the game will finish over is high for Arizona. The Diamondbacks have seen the over finish in five of the last six overall and in eight of the last 10 played in Houston against the Astros. The total has also gone over in five of the Astros last seven.
Prediction: OVER 9.5