The Houston Astros look like the team to beat in the American League in the early going and they are lapping the field in the AL West race. They play Game 2 of an interleague series Wednesday at Miami, meaning the Astros will lose the designated hitter. For the Astros, it has been an amazing season. They’re coming off a 4 game weekend series against the New York Yankees, taking the series at 3-1. For the Marlins, it was a good weekend. They took on the Atlanta Braves, losing the series at 1-2. The MLB betting odds have Houston as the favorite to win.
Houston at Miami MLB Betting Analysis & Game Pick
.@MLB’s best record?
— MLB (@MLB) May 16, 2017
When: Wednesday, May 17, 12:10 PM ET
Where: Marlins Park, Miami
Probable pitchers (away/home): Lance McCullers Jr./Jose Urena
TV: MLB Extra Innings
Radio: Houston / Miami
Opening MLB Lines: Astros favored by TBA
Why Bet On Houston?
Since Houston doesn’t have the DH, it’s likely that Carlos Beltran sits out as he’s not really young enough these days to play the outfield. Houston was a bit concerned over All-Star second baseman Jose Altuve when he began limping enough in the ninth inning of Sunday night’s game at the New York Yankees that manager A.J. Hinch replaced him with a pinch runner. But Altuve is fine; his special Mother’s Day shoes were just not fitting well.
“He looked uncomfortable with his lower half — ankle, calf, hamstring,” Hinch said Monday. “It turned out to be his pink shoes. They were a little too tight. It was making his foot fall asleep. When he came to the bench he was sort of dumbfounded as to why I took him out.”
At 26-12 entering this week, the Astros are off to their best 38-game start in franchise history, one game better than their previous club record of 25-13, set in 2015 and 1998. The best 39-game start in Astros history is a 25-14 record, which was reached by the 2015, 1999 and 1998 Astros. The Astros (+43) rank second in the AL in run differential, trailing only New York (+53). Houston has posted a +27 run differential in the 7th inning or later, including a +21 differential in the 7th.
It’s Lance McCullers Jr. (3-1, 2.98) on the mound. McCullers allowed no runs on four hits while striking out seven across six innings to earn the win Friday against the Yankees. McCullers had no problem silencing the Yankees bats in a road contest while the offense gave him plenty of support, leading to his third win of the season. He’s allowed just seven earned runs over his last five starts to lower his ERA from 4.67 to 2.98.
This will be third consecutive road start for McCullers, who has pitched 13 without allowing an earned run in those two starts. McCullers, a Florida native, was close friends with late former Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez.
Why Bet On Miami?
Marlins third baseman Miguel Rojas expects to get the cast off his right thumb in about a week. Rojas was off to a surprising start this season before suffering a fractured right thumb a week ago. He hopes to be back right before the All-Star break.
Meanwhile, No. 1 pitcher Wei-Yin Chen (elbow) could undergo another MRI. Chen had to cut a bullpen session short Saturday after feeling renewed soreness in his left elbow. He’s been pitching through a partially torn ulnar collateral ligament since last summer.
“I’m not sure if only rest can [help],” Chen said through translator Louis Chao. “I think I have to get an MRI and talk to the doctor and see what he thinks and then decide what we’re going to do.” Chen has already had one Tommy John surgery. It’s looking like a distinct possibility that he might have to go under the knife again.
The Marlins last faced the Astros in a three-game series at Minute Maid Park from July 25-27, 2014, coming away with a series sweep. The Marlins-Astros series is one of the most tightly contested series in Marlins history, as the Fish trail by one game, 78-79, yet they own a 48-30 mark in South Florida. Miami’s .615 winning percentage against Houston at home is its second-best mark against any team, behind a .635 winning percentage against Colorado (61-35).
It’s Jose Urena (1-1, 1.98) on the mound. Urena took the loss after allowing two runs over six innings against the Braves on Friday. The only damage was a two-run homer off the bat of Tyler Flowers in the second inning. He gave up six hits in all while walking three and striking out four.
Urena is earning a spot in the rotation after initially being a spot starter. In his two starts, he has allowed two runs in 12 innings (1.50 ERA). Urena opened the season in long relief, but he is now the hardest thrower in the rotation.
Houston at Miami MLB Betting Pick: Houston Astros
Two good young pitchers so I expect a low-scoring game. Houston has the better bullpen and lineup.