Houston Astros at Colorado Rockies Pick (7/24/18)
Houston Astros @ Colorado Rockies (7/24/18)
Time: 8:40 PM ET
Venue: Coors Field
Location: Denver, Colorado
Moneyline: Houston (-150) / Colorado (+130)
It’s game one of a two-game Interleague Series in Denver, Colorado Tuesday night at hitter-friendly Coors Field. The reigning World Series Champion Houston Astros travel to the mile-high city to take on the scorching-hot Colorado Rockies. Both teams had the day off Monday, so they should be well rested and ready to roll. These two games will be the only two meetings of the year between the two clubs. Gerrit Cole is scheduled to start for the Astros, while Tyler Anderson is slated to take the hill for the hometown Rockies.
Houston: We’re in 1st Place
At 66-36 (.647) on the year, the Houston Astros are in first place in the American League West Standings. They’re five games clear of the Seattle Mariners in the AL West and boast the third best overall record in MLB. Since the All-Star Break, Houston’s won two of three. The Astros defeated the Los Angeles Angels 3-1 and 7-0 Friday and Saturday, but got shellacked 14-5 in the series finale on Sunday.
Led by 2017 AL MVP second baseman Jose Altuve (.328 AVG, 9 HR, 45 RBI & .392 OBP), Houston boasts the second-best offense in MLB. The Astros have plated 515 runs thus far. The three-time Silver Slugger Award winning Jose Altuve owns the second-best batting average in the American League at this point in the season. On the road, Altuve’s batting .355 with three homers and 29 RBI.
Houston’s pitching staff is the best in the business, allowing a league-best 327 runs this season. Their +188 run differential is also the best in MLB. There’s no place like the road for Houston, where they’ve accrued a league-best 34-15 (.694) mark so far.
Rockies Riding High
One of the hottest teams in the League right now, the Colorado Rockies have won seven of their last eight decisions. Colorado took a seven-game winning streak into Sunday’s contest at Arizona, but they were creamed by the Snakes 6-1 in Arizona. During the seven-game stretch of dominance, the Rockies outscored opponents 60-35. With a record of 53-46 (.535), Colorado’s in third place in the National League West Division just two-games behind the first place Los Angeles Dodgers.
The Rockies offense has been one of the best this year, and they’re red-hot in July. Having scored 485 runs thus far, Colorado owns the second-best offense in the National League. A trio of Rockies have been killing it over the past month: Nolan Arenado (.328 AVG, 5 HR & 15 RBI), Trevor Story (.404 AVG, 4 HR & 13 RBI) and Charlie Blackmon (.369 AVG, 5 HR & 11 RBI). Arenado leads the National League with 25 home runs, and his 72 RBI is second-best amongst NL batters. At Coors Field, Arenado has a .370 average with 14 homers and 40 RBI this season. Story’s average at home is .329 with 16 dingers and 48 RBI, while Blackmon’s hitting .328 with six home runs and 20 RBI at Coors Field thus far. Blackmon leagues the National League in runs with 76 on the year.
Unfortunately, Colorado’s pitching staff is as terrifically awful as their bats are great. Having allowed 489 runs, the Rockies boast the 24th ranked pitching staff in MLB. Consequently, the Rockies have a negative-four run differential which explains their mediocre record. If they added some pitching before the deadline, they’d be a much stronger contender for an NL Wild Card berth. Coors Field has proven to provide no home-field advantage for the Rockies as they’ve gone 23-23 (.500) thus far.
Cole vs. Anderson
Sixth year UCLA-product Gerrit Cole (10-2, 2.52 ERA & 0.98 WHIP) has proven to be the excellent addition to the ‘Stros rotation he was thought to become. The young right-hander has been quality lately too. In three starts in July, Cole’s 1-0 with a 2.78 ERA and 1.42 WHIP. In four career starts against Colorado, Cole’s 3-1 with a 2.51 ERA and 1.27 WHIP. Only one of those starts was at Coors Field, and resulted in a victory. So, at Coors Field Cole’s 1-0 with a 3.00 ERA and 1.67 WHIP in his career. Cole’s had ten road starts this season and he’s accrued a 6-1 record with a 2.53 ERA and 1.03 WHIP.
Tyler Anderson (6-3, 3.72 ERA & 1.21 WHIP) has earned the title of number-one man for the Rockies abysmal rotation. The young lefty’s been the lone bright spot in terms of starters for Colorado thus far and he’s been in terrific form as of late. In three July starts, Anderson’s 1-0 with a 1.35 ERA and 0.85 WHIP. Tuesday night’s game will be Anderson’s first-career start against Houston. In ten starts at Coors Field this season, Anderson’s 2-3 with a 4.25 ERA and 1.42 WHIP.
Where’s the value?
I’ve got to hand it to the oddsmakers on this one. These lines are close to being on point here. At -150, the ‘Stros would need to win 60% of the time to make betting on them profitable. On the flip side, Colorado at +130 would require them to win 43.5% of the time to make betting on them worthwhile. According to my calculations, the edge lies with the Astros in this one as they should take this one approximately 65% of the time. Consequently, we have a small 5% edge against the books by taking the reigning World Series Champions on the money line. The Rockies are playing some great baseball, but they’re just average at home. Houston’s the best road team in the League and has the edge on the mound and at the plate. Overall, they’re the better club. All signs point towards a Houston win, and we’re getting a solid price at -150 at Intertops.
There is no doubt the offense will move the ball, but can they put up enough points to win shootouts? In Garoppolo’s first 4 starts, he only threw for 3 touchdowns and the offense only scored 8 TDs in those games. Garrett Celek was the only receiver last season to score more than 2 passing TDs and none of the receivers on the roster are red zone threats. Marquise Goodwin and Pierre Garcon are the primary receivers. Goodwin was a very pleasant surprise last year hauling in 56 passes and averaging 17.2 yards per catch. Garcon missed the final 8 games of the season with a neck injury, so he will be a new weapon for Garoppolo. 2nd round draft choice Dante Pettis out of Washington will compete with Aldrick Robinson for snaps as the third receiver but it is a stretch to think they will add a lot to the passing attack. This is not a top shelf receiving corps.
Defenses will be better prepared for the 49ers attack. With 5 games of Jimmy G running Shanahan’s offense on tape, defenses will be able to game plan better. Shanahan can make adjustments and add new wrinkles but opposing D Coordinators will make the Niners play their best game each week. The overall talent of the offensive skill players may put a ceiling on the offense despite Shanahan’s ability to scheme up plays. The only way the team gets over 9 wins is on the backs of the offense as the defense is not yet stout enough to win games when the offense doesn’t score in the high 20s.
Brighter times and playoff games may be coming to the San Francisco Bay in the future, but probably not in 2018. 9 wins is too much to ask for a roster that has only won 8 over the past 2 years.