The Astros and Pirates continue its early week series on Tuesday.
Houston is under .500 early on in its quest for a repeat World Series title, and it's been because of the offense as the team has been incredibly underwhelming at the dish. Meanwhile, the Pirates have been a pleasant surprise at over .500 so far, but the team will start to see a dip in production now that promising second year pro Oneil Cruz. How soon will that come?
The Pirates have a tough matchup against Astros starter Cristian Javier, how should we bet this one?
Here are the odds for this interleague matchup:
Astros vs. Pirates odds, run line and total
Astros vs. Pirates prediction and pick
I think the way to handle this matchup is to go with the under.
The Pirates offense is still below the league average in terms of on-base percentage and wRC+ and now the team is without Cruz, one of the best bats in the middle of the lineup who is also an aggressive base runner that can create run scoring opportunities.
Now they face a stout Astros pitching staff that will send out Javier, who isn't walking batters and generating a ton of soft contact that is keeping the ball in the park. He has walked only one batter in 11 innings of work and allowed only four earned runs. I believe that the Pirates offense is going to take a significant step back and Javier is going to make it difficult for Pittsburgh to get a reasonable amount of run support.
On the other side, Mitch Keller should continue his fine play against an Astros team that isn't clicking early on, especially without Jose Altuve in the lineup. The team is 23rd in batting average this season and striking out at a concerningly high rate, nearly 25%, which is ninth highest in the bigs.
That's an issue against Keller, who is generating swings and misses much more often early on, punching out 15 batters in 11 2/3 innings this season.
I'm in wait and see mode on the Astros offense while the Pirates' are set to fall off without Cruz.
I'm taking the under on Tuesday night.
Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.