Houston Astros vs. Kansas City Royals
First place in the National League Central takes on last place in the N.L. Central as the St. Louis Cardinals host the Houston Astros. The Cardinals are -180 favorites over the Astros with an over/under run total set at 8.5.
The St. Louis Cardinals are knotted in a three way tie for first place in the National League Central with the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Milwaukee Brewers. The Cardinals are 5-5 in their last 10 games, 25-21 at home this season, and are playing their first game back home after a road trip. As a team St. Louis is hitting .268 led by Matt Holliday at .310, Lance Berkman at .288, and Albert Pujols at .276. As a team the Cardinals pitching staff has an ERA of 3.91 with the starters at 3.89 and the bullpen at 3.94. For game one against the Astros St. Louis starts Kyle McClellan who has lost his last five decisions. For the season McClellan has allowed 105 hits and 50 earned runs while striking out 50 in 103.2 innings of work.
The Houston Astros have the worst record in baseball and at this point they have pretty much nailed down that distinction for the season. Houston has lost three in a row, are 3-7 in their last 10 games, and 16-32 on the road this season. As a team Houston is hitting .261 led by Hunter Pence at .308, Michael Bourn at .301, and Brett Wallace at .279. As a team the Astros pitching staff has an ERA of 4.61 with the starters at 4.69 and the bullpen at 4.45. For game one at Busch Stadium Houston starts J.A. Happ who got a rare win in his last outing. For the season Happ has allowed 111 hits and 69 earned runs while striking out 91 in 105.2 innings of work.
St. Louis is 5-1 in their last six games against a left handed starter, 5-2 in their last seven games as a favorite, and 0-7 in McClellan’s last seven starts. Houston is 18-39 in their last 57 road games, 15-38 in their last 53 overall, and 0-7 in Happ’s last seven starts against a team with a winning record. St. Louis has won six of the last seven meetings of these two.
While Houston is never a great place to have your money this season, McCellan at this price may actually be a worse option. Take the Astros plus the 160.
Houston Astros +160 St. Louis Cardinals