Collin McHugh (14-7, 3.92 ERA) and the Houston Astros (73-61) go up against Mike Pelfrey (6-8, 3.85 ERA) and the Minnesota Twins (69-63) in the first of a three-game series at Minute Maid Park. The game gets underway at 8:10 p.m. ET on Friday, Sep. 4 and will air on FSN, RTSW and MLBN.
In his last start, McHugh pitched 6.1 innings, giving up two runs, striking out eight and walking two in a 6-2 victory over the Yankees. George Springer (.264, 43 Rs, 13 HRs, 29 RBIs, 14 SBs) went 1 for 2 Wednesday with one run and one stolen base. The Twins were unsuccessful the last time Pelfrey pitched. He did not do well, pitching 3.2 innings, allowing four runs, striking out two and walking two in a 4-1 loss to the Astros.
Houston is a -178 favorite in this game and the Over/Under (O/U) is set at eight runs. The Astros are 43-33 as the favorite and have an overall money line of +553. The Astros are a nightmare for opponents on the bases with 100 steals, one of the highest totals in baseball. Turning to the pitching staff, the Astros lead the AL in ERA with a 3.30 team average. The Astros don't allow many hitters to get on base, ranking second in the league with a 1.18 WHIP. The have been extremely effective at striking opposing batters out, averaging 7.8 strikeouts per game.
On the other side, the Twins have a record of 53-53 when they are the underdog and are +2,031 overall with the money line. They have played at the top of their game when rated as the underdog as of late. They managed a 7-2 record when playing as the underdog and an SU record of 8-2.
The Twins are 2-1 against the Astros this season. The Astros will take on a right-hander (Pelfrey) in this game and have a 47-40 record against right-handed starting pitchers this season. The right-handed McHugh will take the mound against the Twins, who have a 44-42 record against righty starters this season.
Predictions: SU Winner - Hou, O/U - Over
Minnesota earned its 11th shutout of the season in its last game. Houston has been shut out nine times this season.
The Astros managed to give up six walks in their last game. They'll have to pick it up against the Twins who are coming in with a 6-0 record against opponents who give up that many walks or more.
It looks like the Twins have a slight leg up on the Astros, as the Twins have won their last three games while the Astros have lost their last two.
When they outhit their opponents, the Astros are 52-15. The Twins have a 47-6 record when outhitting opponents.
Houston and Minnesota both rank in the top 10 of the league in runs. Houston sits at eighth with 578 runs this season and Minnesota ranks 10th with 575.
Ranking 23rd, Minnesota is near the bottom of the league in walks, notching 332 this season. Houston ranks in the top 10 at 10th with 401.
The Astros are 60-36 when they hit at least one home run. The Twins perform similarly when they hit one or more homers with a 53-28 record.