Things are very tight at the top of the AL West. The Houston Astros are now just 1.5 games behind the Rangers and only a half game ahead of Seattle. Yesterday the Astros took a 9-4 win at home over the Boston Red Sox who are in a race of their own, four games back of the final wild card spot.
Tonight is Game 2 of this four-game set and it will feature Tanner Houck against Justin Verlander. Houck is 3-6 with a 5.05 ERA in his 13 starts while Verlander is 8-6 with a 3.36 ERA after a bad start last time out, his third appearance since coming back to Houston.
Verlander was brought back to Houston to help them win the division and today is a great chance as they’re nearly within striking distance. However, the Red Sox are also getting a boost with Houck coming back from injury. Let’s get into the odds for this matchup.
Red Sox vs. Astros odds, run line and total
Red Sox vs. Astros prediction and pick
When Max Scherzer and Verlander were both traded away from the Mets, the general consensus was that Verlander would excel back in Houston and Scherzer would continue to struggle down in Texas, but so far the Astros have gotten the worse of the two pitchers in an admitted small sample size.
Verlander has allowed nine runs over his 18.0 innings in Houston so far and his ERA has risen from 3.11 to 3.36. It still hasn’t gotten to where his FIP sits at 3.83 and his 3.55 xERA. Veraldner’s strikeout rate is staggeringly low, but he also hasn’t allowed many home runs this season, so he’s gotten away with it. However, he’s given up two in Houston already and if that continues without the strikeouts coming back it’s bad news.
Lucky for Houston he’s still better than Tanner Houck. Though, unlike Veralnder, Houck has a 3.93 xERA and a 4.21 FIP which means that his ERA is likely to improve as the season goes on. Maybe some better health can do the trick.
Since the start of July Housotn’s bullpen ERA is lower than Boston’s, but their FIP of 4.92 ranks 25th, so the Red Sox have an edge in the late innings.
I don’t think Verlander’s struggles are over after his last start, so I’ll be fading Houston in this one and take the Red Sox as an underdog.
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Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change