Perhaps we underestimated the Houston Astros.
In our most-recent Stock Watch futures update, we said to buy on the Yankees and sell on the Astros. All Houston has done since then is sweep four games against the New York Mets (two at home, two on the road) and split a four-game series at the Yankees–one loss came in extra innings and the other was after blowing a three-run lead in the ninth inning. After that impressive 6-2 stretch against two of the best teams in baseball, they return home to face the Yankees for another four-game series starting tonight.
Two other big series are starting around the baseball world this Thursday–a four-game set in Los Angeles between the Padres and Dodgers, who are neck-and-neck for the lead in the NL West, and Tampa Bay visits Toronto with the two teams fight for wild card positioning in the American League.
Besides the good action on the diamond, we look over the entire schedule to give you our best bets for this Thursday night in Major League Baseball.
New York Yankees vs. Houston Astros
The Pick: New York -120 (Bet Rivers)
Okay, we started this article touting the Astros’ recent run against the New York teams, but we’re going against them tonight. The Yankees come in having won four straight after a relatively easy time in sweeping overmatched Oakland. Houston also may be without slugger Yordan Alvarez after he collided with Jeremy Pena yesterday and both left the game.
Luis Severino (4-2, 3.38 ERA) pitches for the Yankees, and he took the loss on Friday night against Houston when he was outdueled by Justin Verlander in a 3-1 Astros win. Severino allowed three runs in six innings of work, giving up five hits and striking out seven.
The Yankees, however, will miss Verlander in this series since he pitched against the Mets yesterday. Houston throws Luis Garcia, who hasn’t pitched since last Wednesday against those Mets, going five innings and allowing three runs. He is 5-5 with a 3.68 ERA and has an ugly 5.18 ERA in six starts at home this year.
It’s being reported that Alvarez is being evaluated for a concussion, so we are leaning towards him not playing tonight. And with Garcia’s struggles at home, Houston may not have the offense to keep up in this one.
San Diego Padres vs. Los Angeles Dodgers
The Bet: San Diego +118 (FanDuel Sportsbook)
After taking two of three in San Diego earlier this season, the Padres and Dodgers meet for the first time in 2022 in Los Angeles. The Padres are 1.5 games back in the loss column in the NL West, but they also own the National League’s best road record and have the edge in the pitching matchup tonight.
Joe Musgrove takes the mound for San Diego, coming off his only loss of the season last time out against Philadelphia. He allowed six runs in six innings of work, five of which came in one inning, but he is still 8-1 with a 2.12 ERA on the season. He had two starts against LA last year, going six innings in each and allowing three runs once in a loss and one run on the other occasion in a 5-3 win.
The Dodgers counter with Mitch White, who is 1-1 with a 4.25 ERA. White started the season in the bullpen but has been pressed into starting action after the injury to Walker Buehler. In his last outing in Atlanta, White took a no-decision in going four innings and allowing three runs on five hits.
The Dodgers have won 11 of its last 12 against the Padres dating back to this year, but LA has been a bit shaky at home (21-12 overall), while San Diego is 25-15 on the road, and with tonight’s pitching matchup, we favor the Padres to open this series with a win.
Milwaukee Brewers vs. Pittsburgh Pirates
The Bet: Milwaukee -120
The Pirates snapped a five-game losing streak with a win over Washington that was fueled by Bryan Reynolds’ three home runs yesterday while Milwaukee has won four straight after taking two games in Tampa Bay with identical 5-3 scores. The Brewers have jumped into first place by 1.5 games over St. Louis and visit Pittsburgh to start a four-game series.
Adrian Houser (4-8, 4.50 ERA) comes into this game struggling for the Brewers, as he has allowed at least three runs in his last four starts. Last time out against Toronto, he gave up five runs in six innings in a 9-4 defeat–the last loss before this winning streak started. He hasn’t played against the Pirates this year but did make five starts against them in 2021, and he allowed more than two runs against them just once. In his last two starts at PNC Park, he went a combined 11.2 innings and allowed one run.
J.T. Brubaker (1-7, 4.14 ERA) pitches for the Pirates. He got his first win of the season two starts ago against the Cubs, but he took the loss in Tampa Bay on Saturday after allowing three runs in six innings of work. He gave up two runs over five innings in a 5-2 loss at Milwaukee back in April.
The pitching matchup is somewhat of a wash, but the Brewers are scoring runs again–at least five in each of the four games in a row that they have won–and getting close to even odds on a first-place team against a lesser opponent is value that we’ll jump on.