The Houston Astros made some history yesterday, as they won for the first time in franchise history despite trailing by six or more runs heading into the eighth inning. Down 8-2 heading into the game’s penultimate frame, Houston rallied to score 14 runs across the eighth and ninth innings to wind up trouncing the Minnesota Twins, 16-8. It was Houston’s fifth straight win overall to propel them to 20 games over .500 at 36-16.
Tonight, they’ll have their work cut out for them. Minnesota will be throwing talented young right-hander Jose Berrios to the mound in this one. After struggling mightily as a rookie last season, the 23-year-old seems to have figured something out to start 2017. Through three starts, Berrios has struck out 22 in 21.2 innings while surrendering just four earned runs. He’s won all three of his starts to this point, all three of which have come against some potent offenses (Cleveland, Colorado, Baltimore).
Houston, on the other hand, will be starting Mike Fiers. Frankly, Fiers has not been very effective this season. He lasted just 4.2 innings in his last start against the Tigers and was battered for four runs on 10 hits, including a home run. Fiers has allowed 18 long balls already this season, including at least one in every start. We don’t know how much longer Fiers will last in the Astros’ rotation, especially considering the options they have in the minor leagues.
Vegas tabbed this game with an over/under of nine runs. To us, that just sounds too low. The Astros’ offense has been on fire lately, which leads us to believe that Berrios could be in for his first rough outing of the season. He certainly has the stuff to tame any lineup, but the Astros are deeper and more talented than any team he’s faced to this point. Houston has scored at least five runs in four of their last five games, including 24 over their last two.
Of course, we also think the Twins will do plenty of damage against Fiers. He has really struggled against right-handed bats, and Minnesota just so happens to boast a pair of outstanding thunder sticks right at the top of the lineup. Brian Dozier and Miguel Sano have already combined to hit 16 homers this season off of right-handed pitching. That’s bad news for Fiers, as 12 of the 18 dongs he’s surrendered have come to righties, as well. At least one of those two guys are taking him deep in this game.
Teams have combined to score nine runs or more in five of Fiers’ nine starts so far this year. Target Field is a hitter-friendly environment, and the Astros certainly made themselves comfortable there on Monday afternoon. Berrios was nearly untouchable through his first two starts, but the Orioles did tag him for three homers in his most recent outing. Last season, he gave up 12 home runs in 58.1 innings. The ball should be flying all over the yard tonight, and it wouldn’t be much of a surprise to see one (or both) of these teams score nine-plus runs on their own.
Pick: Hit the over on the implied total of nine tonight.
Taylor Smith has been a staff writer with GamblingSites.org since early 2017. Taylor is primarily a sports writer, though he will occasionally dabble in other things like politics and entertainment betting. His primary specialties are writing about the NBA, Major League Baseball, NFL and domestic and international soccer. Fringe sports like golf and horse racing aren’t exactly his cup of tea, bu ...
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