The Houston Astros will try to win their seventh straight game as they play their first of two games at Coors Field against the Colorado Rockies on Wednesday. Houston is favored on the road with a moneyline of -165 compared to Colorado’s moneyline of +145.
The Astros got off to a slow start in 2020, but they have turned their act around over the last week. During their current six-game winning streak, Houston’s pitching staff has allowed a total of seven runs.
That includes a pair of 2-1 home wins over the Rockies the last two days before the four-game set shifts back to Coors Field. Of course, the Astros are still 2.5 games behind Oakland, so their work isn’t done yet.
Meanwhile, the Rockies have cooled off considerably since getting off to a fast start. Colorado has lost five of six and seven of nine, dropping them four games behind the Dodgers in the NL West.
They are now in the middle of a crowded Wild Card race and a competitive NL West. With a challenging schedule the rest of the month, the Rockies are getting a little desperate to get back on track.
The Young One
Rookie Ryan Castellani will try to get the Rockies on track Wednesday as he makes his third major league start. Castellani has allowed just one run on two hits over his first two starts. However, he’s failed to complete five innings in both starts.
He’s not yet proven that he can go deep in games, putting a little extra pressure on the Colorado bullpen. Also, both starts came against losing teams, including the Mariners, who are among the worst teams in the majors.
Facing the Houston lineup will surely be a great challenge for Castellani. Of course, the Astros aren’t exactly lighting up the scoreboard these days. They’ve scored just nine runs in their last four games, winning with pitching rather than offense.
Yuli Gurriel and Alex Bregman are leading the offense at the moment, but the rest of Houston’s lineup is struggling to get going. In particular, Jose Altuve is hitting just .168 on the season while George Springer is hitting .200, depriving the Astros of their two key table setters.
Let It Ride
Lefty Framber Valdez will start for the Astros on Wednesday. He’s one of several young starters who have served as the catalyst for Houston’s recent turnaround.
The lefty owns a 1.90 ERA over three starts and one relief appearance this season, taking a big leap from last year when he finished with a 5.86 ERA. In his last start, Valdez allowed just one run over six innings against the Mariners. Before that, he allowed one earned run over seven innings against Oakland.
Of course, facing the Rockies at Coors Field is a challenge unlike any other. Despite a lack of wins, the Rockies are averaging 6.5 runs per game in their last six home games.
Charlie Blackmon remains the talk of baseball with his .429 batting average. Colorado is also getting consistent production from Trevor Story, Daniel Murphy, and young Garrett Hampson, while Nolan Arenado is at least showing off some power despite a disappointing average.
Take a Chance
Despite winning six in a row, Houston’s streak is bound to end at some point. The team’s surprising lack of scoring during their winning streak makes them vulnerable. While Valdez has been good, a young pitcher’s first start at Coors Field can be a wakeup call.
There is value in picking the Rockies as home underdogs to get their offense back on track and beat the Astros on Wednesday.