MLB Baseball Vegas Online Sports Betting & Free Predictions Tuesday July 3rd, 2018
First Place Houston Faces Last Place Texas
The Houston Astros are in first place in the AL West, but just by a hair over the once again red-hot Seattle Mariners. Entering play this week Seattle was just a half game back of the lead on the strength of a seven-game winning streak.
Houston in the meanwhile was on an 18-3 run, once again looking like world beaters before their offense was stymied by Tampa Bay on the weekend. The team managed to score just seven runs in four games, winning the opener 1-0 before dropping the final three. What’s more, those three losses came against the Astros three best and most consistent starting pitchers all season, Gerrit Cole, Justin Verlander and Charlie Morton.
What’s more, just prior to that stretch Houston was the highest scoring team in the league in June, averaging 5.79 RPG. The pitching staff ended the month with a 3.17 ERA.
Texas remains in last place in the AL West, but their past month of play has been a real tale of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. The team went 3-10 between May 31st and June 15th. That dropped their record to 27-44. But since then they are 11-3.
One of the key differences is simply the quality of competition. When they were losing big, they faced Houston, the Angels when they were still healthy and the red-hot Dodgers, not to mention the frisky Athletics.
Since then, they’ve caught Colorado on a down swing, the Royals, Twins, Padres and White Sox.
Texas finished June averaging 5.28 RPG and their team ERA was 4.27.
Dallas Keuchel (4-8, 4.22 ERA) has been pretty erratic of late. In his last start he allowed six runs in 5.1 innings of a 7-6 win over Toronto. It was the third time in his last five starts allowing five earned runs or less. In the other two starts (both against the struggling Royals) he’s pitched 12 innings allowing two unearned runs. Houston is 3-2 in those starts and 6-4 in his last ten.
Austin Bibens-Dirkx (1-1, 3.57 ERA) is a career minor leaguer who finally made it to the major leagues last year at the age of 32. This year he’s made just four starts, two in May and two in late June. In those last two starts he’s allowed one run in 11.2 innings. The team split those and his first two as well.
Houston is -170 favorites and Texas +145 underdogs. Bibens-Dirkx is hot of late, but I wouldn’t want to face this Houston team after getting shut down by Tampa Bay. They’ll be looking to take it out on someone. The Pick: Astros 6-3.