The Houston Astros put an end to their seven-game slide with a 9-4 victory at the New York Yankees this past Sunday. They avoid the second straight sweep following three losses in a row at the Cincinnati Reds, while it was the longest losing streak of the season for the Astros.
During their funk, the Astros allowed 43 runs in the total to their rivals which is 6.14 runs per game on average. This season, the Astros are surrendering just 3.92 runs per contest (4th-best in the league).
On the other side, the Astros were tallying only 2.71 runs per game during their losing streak, while they are averaging 5.13 runs per game this term (9th-best in the league). Also, the Astros’ batting average is the 3rd-best in baseball (.267), and their on-base percentage is the 2nd-best (.343), while they hit 128 home runs which are the 4th-most in the league.
Considering all these numbers, the Astros should break out of their funk very soon, and their strength of schedule this week is certainly encouraging. They will play six games at home, hosting the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Seattle Mariners in three-game sets.
Houston will take on Pittsburgh for the first time since 2016, while these two inter-league foes will meet at Minute Maid Park for the first time since 2012. The Astros won three of their last four home encounters with the Pirates.
Pittsburgh is on a four-game winning streak, but the Pirates lost ten of their last 13 outings on the road and are sitting bottom of the NL Central with a 36-40 record. Houston is topping the AL West at the moment with a 49-30 record, winning 13 of its last 20 contests at home.
The Pirates have the 4th-worst pitching staff in baseball, recording a 5.08 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP, while they are allowing 5.50 runs per game (28th in the league).
The three-game series with their divisional rivals Seattle Mariners (35-47) should be even better opportunity to lay the odds on the Astros. The Mariners have the 2nd-worst pitching staff in the league with a 5.35 ERA and a 1.46 WHIP while allowing 6.07 runs per game.
Also, the Astros won six of their seven encounters with the Mariners this season, while they are 10-0 in the previous ten home meetings with the AL West. The Astros will have an additional motive in this series whereas the Mariners won six of the last seven H2H duels in Texas.
The Astros have already announced starting pitchers for this week. Gerrit Cole (6-5, 3.54 ERA, 1.02 WHIP) will take the mound twice, opening the series against Pittsburgh and closing the set with Seattle. The Astros won eight of his last ten starts.
Framber Valdez (3-3, 3.61 ERA, 1.25 WHIP), Brad Peacock (6-5, 3.62 ERA, 1.10 WHIP), and Wade Miley (6-4, 3.51 ERA, 1.19 WHIP) will all get the ball once, as well as Justin Verlander (10-3, 2.67 ERA, 0.75 WHIP) who will toe the slab Saturday night against the Mariners.