Vegas Odds & MLB Predictions: Arizona Diamondbacks at Houston Astros (September 14th, 2018)
Arizona in Must-Win Territory as They Visit Red-Hot Houston
The Arizona Diamondbacks have been in first place most of the season, but a September swoon has put their playoff hopes on the ropes. Arizona just lost three of four to the Rockies and at the start of the month they also dropped three of four to the Dodgers. They have not won any series since sweeping the Angels in a two-game series on August 21-22. Since then they have posted a 6-14 record and have fallen 4.5 games behind the Rockies for first in the NL West and they are four games back of the Cardinals for the second wildcard spot.
The Houston Astros just swept the Tigers in a three-game series and are rounding into postseason form as they look to defend their World Series crown. The Astros have posted a 17-4 record in their last 21 games and that includes taking two of three from playoff teams Oakland and Boston.
In their last 20 games the Diamondbacks have averaged just 3.3 RPG and have allowed 4.35 RPG. They gave up 31 runs to the Rockies and are 3-9 in September.
In their last 21 games the Astros have averaged 5.33 RPG and have allowed 3.19 RPG. Each of their wins over the Tigers was by one run. They are 10-1 in September.
Robbie Ray (5-2, 4.18 ERA) gave up two runs in six innings in a 9-5 loss to Arizona last time out. He’s allowed two runs or less in seven of his last nine starts, but he’s averaging just over 5.1 innings per start. His ERA in ten starts since the All-Star break is 3.44 and Arizona is 3-7 in his last ten outings.
Dallas Keuchel (11-10, 3.59 ERA) gave up five runs in six innings in a 6-5 loss to Boston last time out. While he’s been generally solid in the second half, it’s the second time in his last five starts that he’s allowed five runs in a game. His overall ERA in the second half is 3.27 and the Astros record is 6-4 when he takes the mound.
Arizona is +174 underdogs and Houston -185 favorites. There is every reason to take an Astros team that is superior in every way, but I think Ray can keep it close and the desperation factor is bound to be high for Arizona. I think they’ grind out a win. The Pick: Diamondbacks 5-4