Houston at Kansas City Thursday Night MLB Expert Pick & Prediction

Posted by Michael Hunt on Wednesday,June 7, 2017 9:34, EST in

The Houston Astros are so far and away the best team in baseball right now that the AL West title is a foregone conclusion and most likely so is the top overall seed in baseball. Houston concludes its lone trip to Kansas City on Thursday and will be favored yet again in MLB betting. The series currently stands 1-1 and they continue tonight in Game 3 of the series. The Royals were able to break the latest winning streak from the Astros after 11 games.

Houston at Kansas City Thursday Night MLB Expert Pick & Prediction

When: Thursday, June 8, 8:15 PM ET
Where: Kauffman Stadium
Probable pitchers (away/home): Lance McCullers Jr./Jason Hammel
TV: MLB Extra Innings
Stream: MLB.tv
RadioHouston / Kansas City
Opening MLB Lines: TBA

Why Bet On Houston?

Keep an eye on outfielder Marwin Gonzalez. Gonzalez left Monday’s series opener against the Royals after re-injuring his left hand on a slide into third base. Gonzalez described the injury as a recurrence of something he felt two weekends ago during the Astros’ last home series against the Orioles. He aggravated it Monday on two slides in the sixth inning – first into second base on a double and then into third on a failed stolen base attempt – on which he pounded the base of his hand into the ground.

Gonzalez has been choking up on his bat when hitting from the right side to alleviate the discomfort but said he had felt better until Monday. Gonzalez is hitting .314 with 12 homers and 34 RBIs.

Meanwhile, second baseman Jose Altuve has taken a commanding lead over Starlin Castro of the Yankees as the top vote-getter among American League second basemen in balloting for July’s All-Star Game. Altuve, who trailed Castro by 536 votes last week, has opened up a lead of 219,408. Carlos Correa still ranks second among AL shortstops, though he has cut his deficit to the Indians’ Francisco Lindor from 348,720 last week to 180,042 on Tuesday.

Outfielder George Springer was named the AL Player of the Week on Monday for the first time in his four-year major-league career. Springer had multi-hit performances in each of the six games the major league-leading Astros (41-16) played from May 29 through Sunday. He batted .500 (15 for 30) in all with five home runs, a double, 11 runs scored and nine RBI out of the leadoff spot. The weekly honor was the first for an Astros player this season. Carlos Correa won the AL’s monthly award for May and starting pitchers Dallas Keuchel (April) and Lance McCullers Jr. (May) won monthly awards on the pitching side.

McCullers (6-1, 2.71) is on the mound here. He pitched 4.1 innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits and two walks with eight strikeouts in Saturday’s win over the Rangers. McCullers had his personal four-game winning streak snapped with one of his poorest performances of the season.

Saturday was the first time since April 15 that he failed to pitch at least five innings, and the first time since April 26 that he allowed more than two earned runs in a start. Despite the short outing, he still managed to collect eight strikeouts, bringing his season total to 81, which ranks fourth in the American League. He also ranks fourth in the AL in wins and ERA.

Why Bet On Kansas City?

The Royals are considering trading closer Kelvin Herrera, but he hasn’t been the same this year. After entering with the Royals down a run, Herrera gave up a three-run homer in the ninth inning Monday against the Astros. Herrera was supposed to give the Royals a chance to come back in the bottom of the ninth, but he didn’t do the job. He’s given up six homers in 23 innings, matching his total from 72 innings last year. In 2014, he didn’t give up a single homer in 70 innings. He’s done just fine as a closer, converting 12 of 14 save opportunities, but he hasn’t been an elite reliever this year.

Also Monday, Whit Merrifield was moved to the top of the order in hopes of taking advantage of his recent surge, hitting in 19 consecutive games entering the series opener. But Merrifield went 0-for-5 to snap what was the longest hitting streak in the majors for 2017. His 19-gamer passed earlier 17-game streaks by Mike Trout and Jean Segura, which were tops in the majors prior Whit’s stretch. Merrifield’s streak tied the longest by a Royal since Alex Gordon’s 19-game streak in April 2011 as the most recent streak of such magnitude.

Kansas City catcher Salvador Perez is making his bid for a fifth consecutive trip to the All-Star Game as he continues to lead all A.L. catchers after two ballot announcements with 692,867 votes, nearly 150,000 more votes than second place Wellington Castillo of Baltimore.

It’s Jason Hammel (2-6, 5.93) on the mound here. Hammel allowed three runs on five hits while striking out seven over 6.2 innings to earn the win Saturday against the Indians. Hammel gave up all three of his runs on a pair of homers in the second inning, but otherwise held the Indians offense in check to earn his second win of the year. He retired 15 of the last 17 batters he faced and struck out seven, which is tied for a season high. Overall, Hammel has yet to find the form he displayed in 2016, when he recorded a career-high 15 wins with the World Series champion Chicago Cubs.

Houston at Kansas City MLB Betting Pick: Houston Astros

McCullers pitched well vs. the Royals on April 9, giving up three runs with 10 strikeouts in a no-decision.