Houston Astros (-110, 7 o/u) at New York Yankees (+100)
It’s do or die tonight for the Houston Astros (86-76, 33-48 Away) and New York Yankees (87-75, 45-36 Home) who will meet in the American League Wild Card game at Yankee Stadium (8:00 PM Eastern).
Separated by just one win on the season, the Astros and Yankees will send their respective aces to the hill tonight in the one-game playoff. Houston will turn to lefty Dallas Keuchel (20-8, 2.48 ERA) while New York counters with crafty righty Masahiro Tanaka (12-7, 3.51 ERA).
Keuchel was solid in his last start, allowing two runs on six hits over six innings in a 21-5 massacre of the Arizona Diamondbacks. He made two starts against the Yanks this year, picking up two wins while giving up nine runs and fanning 21 batters over 16 innings.
“I play with a chip on my shoulder,” Keuchel said Monday at Yankee Stadium. “I think a lot of the guys do in there as well. And we’ll always carry that. … We proved people wrong continuously throughout the season, and we’re going to try to continue to do that”.
The silver lining for the Yankees is that Keuchel will be pitching on three days’ rest and he will be in a hostile environment. Keuchel was much better at home (15-0, 1.46 ERA) than on the road (5-8, 3.77 ERA) this year; though he did have a solid road start in New York back in August, keeping the Bronx Bombers off the board for seven innings.
Tanaka won 12 of his 24 starts on the season, but failed to get the W in his last two (against the Mets and Red Sox, respectively). He faced the Astros in Houston back in June and left with a no-decision in the Yankees’ 9-6 win. He went just five innings, allowing seven hits and six runs while striking out five.
His high strikeout rate (22.8-percent) is generally a good matchup against the Astros, though, who had the highest strikeout rate in the league, as a team, at 22.9-percent.
The betting trends favor the Astros and the under. Houston is 4-2 SU in their last six road games against the Yankees, while the total has stayed UNDER in 12 of the last 16 between the clubs. Though there are reasons to be wary of Keuchel (who, as mentioned, has struggled on the road and will be pitching on short rest), his dominance of lefty batters coupled with New York’s lefty-heavy lineup makes the Houston moneyline look like the best value.
Pick: Houston -110.
(Photo credit: Arturo Pardavila III on Flickr [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons. Photo has been cropped.)