After taking two out of three games from the Chicago White Sox over the weekend, the Houston Astros will look to keep things rolling when they open a series against the Chicago Cubs on Monday. First pitch from Minute Maid Park is scheduled for 8:10 p.m. ET. The Cubs will send Jameson Taillon (0-2, 6.41 ERA) to the mound, while the Astros will counter with lefty Framber Valdez (3-4, 2.38).
The Astros are -190 favorites on the moneyline at DraftKings Sportsbook, while the Cubs are +160 underdogs. The run total is set at 8.
Cubs-Astros picks: Monday, May 14
Out: 2B Nico Hoerner (left hamstring strain), SP Kyle Hendricks (right shoulder strain), RP Adrian Sampson (right knee)
Out: 2B Jose Altuve (fractured right thumb), OF Michael Brantley (right shoulder surgery), SP Lance McCullers Jr. (right arm muscle strain), SP Jose Urquidy (right shoulder inflammation), SP Luis Garcia (Tommy John)
Jameson Taillon vs. Framber Valdez
Taillon’s coming off his worst start of the year, allowing four runs in 2 2/3 innings against the Cardinals. That said, he’s suffered from a bit of bad luck, as there’s a three-run difference between his ERA (6.41) and his expected ERA (3.85) so far this season. While he ranks above-average in strikeout rate (76th percentile) and walk rate (68th percentile), he struggled to limit baserunners against the Cardinals as he works back from a stint on the IL.
Just about the last man standing in the Astros’ injury-riddled rotation, Valdez has gotten better as the season has gone on, and is coming off a start against the Los Angeles Angels where he allowed one run in eight innings with 12 strikeouts. He’s gone at least six innings in every start since Opening Day, and hasn’t allowed more than three earned runs in any of his starts this year.
I’m backing the over here. While Valdez is a good pitcher, eight is a bit of a low number, especially considering how Taillon pitched the last time out. And although Houston is coming off a series where this under hit in all three games, the Cubs have cleared this over in four of their last five games, with the other being a push.
Pick: Over 8
Houston gets back on track tonight. After grinding to win two out of three from the White Sox over the weekend, I think their offense breaks out tonight against Taillon and the Cubs.