Houston, We Have a Problem
Just as the Astros seemed to be finding their way in the American League playoff race, they’ve hit a major pothole.
Houston has scored a paltry 17 runs over its last nine games, going 2-7 SU and 1-7-1 O/U over that span. The good news: an upcoming four-game set with the Twins could reverse both trends.
The Astros won two of three while going 2-0-1 O/U in its previous three-game set with the Twins, and while Minnesota has been scoring a ton of runs, it still has a 4.48 ERA since the break.
Sanchez’s Starter Swansong?
The Blue Jays have decided against shuffling ace starter Aaron Sanchez to the bullpen – at least for now. But the hard-throwing right-hander may be making his final start of the year Saturday afternoon against Houston.
Sanchez’s overall numbers look fantastic (11-2, 2.85 ERA, .289 opponent OBP), but he’s just a middle-of-the-pack starter in terms of units (-65).
Keep a close eye on Saturday’s total. While the Astros are having all sorts of trouble generating offense, Sanchez, despite going 6-16 O/U in 22 games season, has seen an average of 10.2 runs scored in six day starts this season – well up from a 7.75 runs-per-game total over his 16 night outings.
Thanks for Nothing
The National League Central is on pace to accomplish something that hasn’t been done in six years – and it isn’t good.
All five NL Central teams are at a negative unit return heading into the new week; the Pittsburgh Pirates lead the way at “only” 141 units lost, followed by the Chicago Cubs (-278), Milwaukee Brewers (-367), St. Louis Cardinals (-482) and Cincinnati Reds (-844).
If the numbers hold, the NL Central will be the first division to be without a positive money line since the American League West all finished with negative units won in 2010. It would be a surprising result for a division that, just last year, was considered among the strongest in baseball.
WAG of the Week
Lindsay Clubine is a former Deal or No Deal model and the wife of Boston Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz.
* The Minnesota Twins have been a red-hot over play (more on that below), and they have a few of their hitters to thank – Joe Mauer chief among them. Maker’s best days are clearly behind him, but he still racked up five straight multi-hit games this week, driving in nine runs in six outings.
* Baltimore third baseman Manny Machado put on an incredible show in Sunday’s 10-2 drubbing of the Chicago White Sox, swatting three home runs and driving in seven. The Orioles improved to 14-8 SU and 10-11-1 O/U in games where Machado goes deep.
*Marlins ace Jose Fernandez may be one of the top under options in the league (8-13), but low totals have predictably bucked this trend. Over has played in five of Fernandez’s seven starts with a total below 7. Fernandez and the Marlins are facing a total of 6 1/2 entering Monday’s tilt with visiting San Francisco.
*Colorado starter Tyler Chatwood has been victimized by a bizarre trend that has seen him go 2-9 O/U in 11 home starts. Despite being supported by high-octane offence, Chatwood’s 11 home starts have seen the home team score a paltry average of 3.36 runs per game. Chatwood goes Tuesday against visiting Texas.
The Twins are the hottest totals play right now, racking up nine consecutive overs. They’re an impressive 6-3 SU over that span, and will look to add to that win total against the Astros this week.