Houston Astros vs. Tampa Bay Rays
The Houston Astros return home as they host the Tampa Bay Rays for game one of their interleague series. The Rays are -135 favorites over the Astros with an over/under run total set at 7.
The Houston Astros have the worst record in baseball but their hitting has kept them at the very least competitive on a game by game basis. The Astros are 4-6 in their last 10 games, 13-25 at home this season, and 13 games back in the National League Central. As a team Houston is hitting .260 led by Hunter Pence at .321, Jason Bourgeois at .354, Brett Wallace at .292, and Michael Bourn at .284. The Astros pitching staff has been the problem and as a team they have an ERA of 4.48 with the starters at 4.43 and the bullpen at 4.56. For game one against the Rays Houston starts Wandy Rodriguez who has easily been their best this year. For the season Rodriguez has allowed 81 hits and 25 earned runs while striking out 64 in 78 innings of work.
The Tampa Bay Rays are in third place in the American League East but they are anything but out of it when it comes to the division race or post season play in general. The Rays are 23-16 on the road this year, 6-4 in their last 10 games, and three and a half games behind the Boston Red Sox in the AL East. As a team Tampa Bay is hitting .242 led by Matt Joyce at .309, Casey Kotchman at .337, and Johnny Damon at .266. The Rays pitching staff has a team ERA of 3.61 with the starters at 3.62 and the bullpen at 3.59. For game one at Minute Maid Park Tampa Bay start James Shields who may be one of the most improved pitchers in all of baseball. For the season Shields has allowed 86 hits and 30 earned runs while striking out 108 in 112.2 innings of work this year.
Houston is 5-14 in their last 19 games overall, 1-7 in their last eight home games, and 6-1 in Rodriguez’s last seven starts. Tampa Bay is 5-1 in their last six games overall, 7-3 in their last 10 road games, and 10-2 in Shields’ last 12 road starts against a team with a losing record.
While I like the way Wandy Rodriguez has been pitching this season, I like Shields as well and overall the Rays are just the better team. Take the Rays minus the 135 today.
Tampa Bay Rays -135 Houston Astos