June hasn’t been kind to the Houston Astros, but last night they got off to a good start in their series with the Washington Nationals. Houston took a 6-1 win behind seven scoreless innings from Hunter Brown and are now 38-29, just 3.5 games behind the Rangers in the AL West. The Nationals have now lost seven of their last eight games and are 26-39.
Today, Framber Valdez will try to follow up Brown’s stellar performance on the mound. Valdez is 6-5 in 13 starts for the Astros with a 2.36 ERA. Washington will go with Josiah Gray who is 4-5 in his 13 starts with a 3.00 ERA.
This could turn into a pitcher’s duel, but with Houston’s ace on the hill and Washington struggling, the Astros are big favorites at home.
Nationals vs. Astros odds, run line and total
Nationals vs. Astros prediction and pick
Framber Valdez is fantastic and has been all year for Houston, but last time out he allowed three runs on four hits over 5.0 innings against Toronto and things could start to take a turn for the worse. Valdez has a 2.94 FIP, still very good, but much higher than his ERA, and his expected ERA is 3.92. He is in the seventh percentile of average exit velocity and hitters have an expected slugging of .399, the highest of his career.
Not only is Valdez due for some regression, but he has a particularly bad matchup today. The Washington Nationals and Lane Thomas absolutely crush left-handed pitching. As a team they are fifth in OPS against lefties despite being 24th in home runs with 15, and are third in RBI. Thomas has a 1.097 OPS, five home runs and six doubles against lefties.
Washington has been struggling in June and Josiah Gray could start to struggle too. Gray has a 4.65 FIP with 64 hits and 37 walks in 72.0 innings this season. He has gotten away with it because he isn’t left out there long, but in June the Washington bullpen hasn’t been able to pick their starters up. The Nats are 29th in team ERA this month, 5.88, so I’ll take the over despite the low total in this one.
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