The Houston Astros are on the road at the San Francisco Giants on Monday.
The injury bug has hit both the Houston Astros and the San Francisco Giants this season. For the Astros, it seems like it has all piled up within the last month or so. Jose Altuve, Carlos Correa, Brian McCann, Lance McCullers Jr. and Chris Devenski all find themselves on the disabled list. To add insult to injury, World Series MVP George Springer had to leave the game early on Sunday after injury his hand sliding into second. For the Giants, they have suffered injuries throughout the season to their starting pitching staff. Madison Bumgarner has seen time on the disabled list, as has Jeff Samardzija and Johnny Cueto, who is now out for the season with Tommy John surgery. The two will face off for a short two game interleague series starting on Monday when the Astros (71-42) travel to AT&T Park to take on the Giants (57-56). First pitch is scheduled for 10:15 pm ET.
The pitching matchup in this one should be a good one. The Astros will be sending out Charlie Morton (12-2, 2.90 ERA) to the mound to square off with Dereck Rodriguez (5-1, 2.59 ERA).
The moneyline for Monday’s game is set at the Houston Astros -147 andthe San Francisco Giants +137. The over/under for runs scored is set at 7.5.
The Astros offense has taken a significant hit due to all of the injuries. Between Springer, Correa and Altuve, they have lost three of their first four hitters in the lineup and a combined 41 home runs. Alex Bregman, who has arguably been their best hitter this season, is going to have to take on added pressure with their absence. On the season, Bregman is hitting .277/.382/.524 with a .906 OPS. He has 22 home runs, 71 runs batted in and has scored 74 runs (leads the team in all three categories). Aside from Bregman, the Astros also need to get support from Josh Reddick, Yuli Gurriel, Marwin Gonzalez and Evan Gattis (although Gattis’ role is diminished as there is no designated hitter in the NL).
What the Astros are really going to have to ride while their offense tries to recover is their pitching. Charlie Morton comes into this game with a 12-2 record, 2.90 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and opponents are hitting .208 against him. In 124.1 innings he has struck out 159 and walked 50. In his last outing, a 5-2 win over the Seattle Mariners, Morton went 6 innings, allowing 2 earned runs and striking out 8. The Astros will be looking for a similar performance out of Morton on Monday.
Coming into this series, the San Francisco Giants currently sit 5 games back in the NL West and 5.5 back for the second wild card spot. While that is not an insurmountable number, there are still several teams that the Giants would have to leapfrog to make it to the playoffs. To try to inch closer, the Giants will be sending Dereck Rodriguez to the mound. On the season, Rodriguez is 5-1 with a 2.59 ERA, 1.12 WHIP and opponents are hitting .226 against him. In 66 innings pitched, he has 54 strikeouts and 18 walks. He has been pretty strong as of late. In his last three outings, he has gone a combined 19.1 innings, allowing 4 earned runs and striking out 17. The Giants were 2-1 over those 3 games.
In his last 10 games, Evan Longoria has been swinging a pretty hot bat. In that stretch, he is hitting .357/.391/.619 with a 1.010 OPS. In those 10 games, he has 2 home runs, a triple, 3 doubles, 4 runs batted in and has scored 7 runs. The Giants hope to get strong production from their veterans, particularly Longoria, McCutchen and Posey. While the veterans are certainly not in their prime, they still show the talent at times that have made them all-stars in their careers.
I really think this game is a 50/50 match up, despite the numbers on the moneyline. If the Astros are at full strength, I am picking them all day, but right now they just aren’t. With the exception of Alex Bregman, their biggest bats are all out of the lineup. As a result, I think this comes down to the pitching and both Morton and Rodriguez have been throwing the ball well this year. With that in mind, in what essentially could be a coin flip, I will take my chances on the better moneyline and take the Giants +137.