It hasn’t been the start the Astros hoped for. Their offensive numbers don’t look bad at a glance. Altuve, Correa, Rasmus and Springer are all triple slashing at or beyond expectations and Tyler White has established himself as another power bat in the middle of the lineup. But the ‘Stros have scored just 76 runs in their first 19 games (I’m writing as they get set to play their 20th), which puts them in the middle of the pack. The numbers will take care of themselves, though, and you have to think Houston will put runs on the board, especially if Carlos Gomez ever gets going. The big problem has been the pitching staff. Their leader looks to straighten himself out tomorrow and get the rest to fall into place from there.
He won two of his first three starts, but an early blow up in Arlington the other night has Dallas Keuchel‘s numbers looking a little large. You could say it was one very rough outing and that he has a 2.18 ERA otherwise, or you could look at the 11 walks that Keuchel got away with in his first two starts and conclude that he’s not quite right. The control problems had me concerned, but Keuchel has since figured that out. And I’m certainly willing to look past last week’s rough time against the Rangers. It’s very possible that I too often look to back pitchers after they’re uncharacteristically lit up, but I get the sense most of these guys just approach that next start with a little extra seriousness. If Keuchel does tomorrow, it could be a one or two run night for the home team.
That shouldn’t be enough for Nathan Karns. There are things to like about this young man but he has a long way to go before he realizes his potential and develops into a steady starter. He’s walked four in each of his last two starts and if his command isn’t there against Houston he’ll pay for it. And though he only gives up about a hit an inning, Karns should fall to Keuchel in this spot.
Free Pick: Astros -130
YTD: 4-3-1 +1.47
2015: 31-25-5 +1.09
2014: 45-28-3 +9.02