ARIZONA DIAMONDBACKS (26-24)
at HOUSTON ASTROS (19-31)
First pitch: Friday, 8:05 p.m. EDT
Line: Arizona -120, Houston +110, Total: 7.5
The sizzling hot Diamondbacks look to continue their winning ways when they travel to Houston Friday to begin a three-game series with the worst team in the National League, the 19-31 Astros. Arizona is 9-1 in its past 10 games, including three straight victories at Coors Field where it held the Rockies to just six runs in those three games. Odds.
The D-backs, who finished last in their division for two straight years, now sit in second place in the NL West, just 1½ games behind San Francisco. They will send surging Daniel Hudson (5-5, 3.82 ERA) to the mound Friday, in search of his seventh straight quality start. In his past six outings, Hudson is 5-1 with a 2.59 ERA and impressive K-to-BB ratio of 5.7 (34 K, 6 BB). The 24-year-old right-hander threw a season-high eight innings in his last outing Sunday against the Twins, allowing just two runs on eight hits, with six strikeouts and zero walks. He has only faced Houston one time in his career, holding the Astros to two runs on seven hits in six innings, and getting a no-decision in a 4-3 win last September. Scores.
Houston will counter with last year’s ace Brett Myers, who has been terrible this year at 1-4 with a 5.00 ERA. Since beating the Cubs on April 12, he is 0-4 with a 6.54 ERA and 1.73 WHIP in his past seven starts. Things don’t expect to improve Friday, as Myers is 0-1 with a 5.73 ERA and 1.63 WHIP in four starts versus Arizona since last defeating the D-backs in June of 2005 when he was with Philadelphia. Myers held opponents to a .248 BA with a 7.2 K/9 rate last year, but those numbers have been significantly worse this season (.300 BA, 6.6 K/9) as his velocity has decreased.
Although Houston has won three of its past four games (all by one run), the offense has scored just 13 runs in the four contests. The Astros have hit the fewest homers in the National League this year (28), while the Diamondbacks are third in the NL with 53 bombs. Justin Upton and Houston native Chris Young are tied for the team lead with 9 HR apiece. Young has loved returning to his hometown, as he is batting .419 (18-for-43) with four homers and 13 RBI in 10 career games at Minute Maid Park.
With the D-backs playing better in all facets of the game recently, the pick is for slight favorite Arizona to win on Friday for the fifth time in the past six games at Houston. Las Vegas odds.
The FoxSheets support the Diamondbacks with this three-star trend:
Play Against – Home teams (HOUSTON) – with a starting pitcher whose winning percentage is worse than 20%, where team’s hitters draw 3 walks or less/game on the season. (34-11 over the last 5 seasons.) (75.6%, +22.4 units. Rating = 3*).