Our last play on Thursday night was a tough one to watch with the Rays blowing a four-run lead to the Yankees on a night where Alex Cobb had it all working. Cobb took a no-hitter into the eighth inning before Chris Young broke it up and later won it the inning after with a three-run homer. The good news is that we didn’t lose any juice by getting even money with Tampa Bay – and those plus money plays add up over time. It’s all about grinding out a profit any way possible. That said, losing doesn’t accomplish that. So it’s time to get back into the win column Monday night when the Cleveland Indians go out to Minute Maid Park to take on the Astros.
So Collin McHugh gets the start for the ‘Stros in a late pitching change for game one of this series. Houston doesn’t have a whole lot to play for, but it also hasn’t had much to play for for the last two months. That hasn’t stopped McHugh from pressing on toward by far his finest season as a pro and one of the most underrated seasons in baseball. McHugh has put up staggering numbers in his third big league season in a year where he entered with a career ERA of nearly 9.00. McHugh has posted a 1.04 WHIP and an ERA of 2.79 with 23 starts for the Astros this year. Dallas Keuchel got a whole lot of loving in the first couple months of the season for the start he had for Houston. But McHugh has consistently been as good – if not better – than Keuchel all year.
The highest McHugh’s ERA has been all year was 3.48 way back in the middle of May and it hasn’t been any lower than it is right now, with the exception of his first two starts of the year. McHugh has been pitching his best baseball down the stretch. He’s surrendered just one or two runs in each of his last eight starts and will face a Cleveland lineup that very well might need to sweep this series in Houston. Aside from McHugh being extremely undervalued in this spot from purely a respect factor, I really like him against this Indians lineup because of how he pitches. McHugh has become one of the more better-known pitchers who throws up in the strike zone. While so many pitchers focus on hitting the bottom of the zone, McHugh has attacked the top of the zone to zip while others are zagging. And it’s worked. Most of Cleveland’s dangerous hitters hit from the left side – Brantley, Santana, Kipnis, Bourn, etc. And that means they prefer the ball down. McHugh makes life tough on left-handers (.221 average against) and should have a really nice outing against the Tribe. With Cleveland’s day lined at 4.5 runs, this is a play you must make.
Free Pick: Cleveland Under 4.5 (-110)
YTD: 35-25-2 +5.11