I’m in the midst of the continued breakdown of the opening week college football games (have played four already, and more likely to come), so I’m skipping the usual commentary tonight. And by the way, that six-week special offer is still available. Take advantage and score all my plays across the board for the next six weeks. Use the “buy now” tab to subscribe and get started right away, or shoot an email my way at email@example.com for more detailed information.
Mike Minor delivered a brilliant performance for the Braves on Friday night. He got little help from his teammates and ended saddled with a no-decision, but Atlanta eventually broke through in extras and put the Friday free play into the win column. A good sized dog on tap for the Saturday comp.
08/23 04:05 PM MLB (975) HOUSTON ASTROS at (976) CLEVELAND INDIANS
Take: (975) HOUSTON ASTROS +145
You can mark me down as being bullish on Danny Salazar. The Cleveland righty has great stuff, and if he can stay healthy, there’s a real expectation here that he’s going to break out at some point. But Salazar remains a model of inconsistency at the present time. The problem seems to be an inability to maintain his command on a regular basis. Salazar has done better in this regard lately. But he’s still prone to high pitch counts and once he hits the wall, that’s pretty much curtains for Salazar. So despite his top of the rotation potential, Salazar remains very much a work in progress.
Collin McHugh, on the other hand, seems to have arrived. Throw out the subpar W/L record. McHugh has been much better than that, and as I said last Sunday when I backed McHugh against the Red Sox, I really feel as though he’s now the ace on this Houston staff. The key for McHugh has been his mastering the changeup. He’s getting a huge differential between his fastball and the change and a load of swings and misses in the process.
From a team perspective, the Indians are clearly the better entry and they can be rude to righties when playing at home. As for the Astros, they’re still a lousy team and picking the right spots to give them a roll is a challenge. But the good news on that front is that Houston is on one of its good rolls right now. They’re on a modest 5-2 run, and it’s worth noting that the Astros have been hitting very well for some time now. So the ‘Stros are not in pushover mode presently, and that means it’s not a bad time to give them a longer look than usual.
The Indians are still hanging in as far as the playoff chase goes. They’re a manageable five games out of the second wild card, which means that one hot streak could get them right into the mix. But that’s also the problem, as this team just hasn’t been good enough to put any distance between themselves and the .500 plateau.
The Tribe rates the favorite’s role this evening. They play well at home and they have the ability to do a number on right handers. But I also see them being overpriced given McHugh’s stellar form, which has actually been amazing all season on the road. This looks like solid value with the game being priced this high, and I’m going to align myself within the Astros this time.